Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the closure of pubs and restaurants under the current coronavirus restrictions will be extended for a further week until November 2.
Since October 8, hospitality venues within a central belt in Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, have been forced to close in what industry leaders called a ‘‘total catastrophe’.
Now First Minister Sturgeon has announced that the measures, which impact five locations, Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian and Aryshire and Arran and Lanarkshire, will be extended for another week from its previous end date of October 26.
The news comes as the Scottish government is due to publish details of a five-tier system on Friday, which will then come into effect on November 2.
Sturgeon said that while there is “cautious optimism” that the restrictions are working, Scottish ministers were told by advisers that it would not be safe to lift the measures from Monday.
The First Minister said: “The extension allows us to transition more smoothly to the new levels system that we hope will be introduced on November 2.”
UKHospitality executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod said the news was ‘another catastrophic blow for Scottish hospitality’.
“It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to keep pace with the constant change in the restrictions they are operating within,” he says.
“Many of these businesses are barely hanging on. They have had their revenue strangled or shut off altogether and many will have little or no cash in reserve. Extending the restrictions for another week could finish off those businesses that had just about manged to formulate a plan to see them through the initial lockdown.
“The support on offer isn’t going to be enough to save the sector. The £40m announced by the Scottish Government was intended to cover a 16-day period to 25 October. That sum was inadequate when it was announced and it is only going to be diluted further.