Jill Chalmers, managing director, Glenapp Castle
When Scotland was put under strict Covid restrictions at the start of October, Jill Chalmers, managing director at Glenapp Castle, knew she had to take action.
The stricter rules meant that all pubs and restaurants in the central belt of Scotland, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley, had to close both indoors and outdoors until October 25.
Other venues in the rest of Scotland were not permitted to serve alcohol indoors and had to close at 6pm.
Chalmers immediately put pen to paper and wrote to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, urging for ‘immediate changes’ to the new measures.
She said that the rules, which prohibited the sale of alcohol in public areas to hotel guests, would lead to thousands of job losses because of a damaging drop in revenue.
In the letter to Sturgeon, Chalmers, said that as a result of the new measures, guests were cancelling their bookings and that the rule was ‘threatening the small thread of revenue’ existing for hotel businesses in Scotland at the time.
She urged the First Minister to reconsider the rule and allow hotel guests, staying a minimum of one night, to consume alcohol in all settings and be able to serve non-residents until 6pm.
She added: “If there is no change, we have no doubt that we will suffer deeper losses. We are talking about trying to survive, not about profitability. Without this small change in your policy, there will be thousands more job losses in the coming month.”
The letter gained huge momentum and secured the backing of over 200 bosses of Scottish hotels, from small independents to five-star properties and groups, as Chalmers gave a voice to the industry.