It’s been confirmed that Scottish hospitality and tourism businesses will be able to reopen from July 15 if the rate of coronavirus infection continues to decline.
Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing told the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh yesterday that the timetable was ‘both provisional and conditional’ but hoped the date gave the sector greater clarity and the ability to now plan ahead to reopening.
He said: “On that basis and on the clear understanding with the industry that nothing can be absolutely guaranteed at this stage and that we may need to change this date if the evidence requires it, we would encourage tourism and hospitality businesses to prepare – within appropriate safety guidelines – for re-opening on 15 July.”
He also confirmed that reopening guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector would soon be published and a Scottish Tourism Recovery Taskforce has been set up to take forward ‘strategic oversight’ of recovery plans.
UKHospitality welcomed the confirmation that the sector would reopen on July 15, but called for ongoing support to guarantee survival for many hospitality businesses.
UKHospitality executive director for Scotland, Willie Macleod said: “Recognising that there may be a need to change dates and timing in the interests of health and safety, it will take time, weeks in some cases, for businesses to get back in working order, communicate with customers, handle bookings, arrange staffing and order supplies, so this lead-time is very helpful. UKH has developed detailed guidelines to assist businesses to reopen and looks forward to the publication of the Scottish Government’s own guidance on 18 June.
“Businesses will need ongoing support – many to see them through to the spring of 2021 – this support includes grants to those with rateable values above £51,000 and any underspend on grants made available thus far must be directed in this way. The proposed recovery task force is a welcome step and there will be a need for radical steps including a substantial reduction in VAT to kick-start the tourism economy.”