Extra restrictions on activities within hospitality settings look set to represent another major blow to the prospects of businesses in many parts of Scotland.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that hospitality venues in central Scotland will be obliged to reduce their opening hours and refrain from selling alcohol for a period of two weeks from Friday 9th October.
Affected businesses are set to collectively receive around £40 million worth of government support but there are nonetheless real concerns about the impact the new restrictions will have.
“The sector has invested significantly in adapting premises to create a safe experience for customers, adhering to government guidance,” noted Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance.
“We are acutely aware of the delicate balance between protecting public health and the economy; the reality is however that many businesses will not be able to trade at a level over the next few weeks which would sustain them,” he said in response to the first minister’s announcements.
Meanwhile, Stephen Montgomery, a spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, has described the incoming restrictions as a “death sentence” for businesses across the areas affected.
“Although some premises may remain open, banning alcohol indoors will mean that many smaller businesses, family-operated and at the heart of local Scottish communities, will not survive past winter and the longer-term impact will be felt for years to come,” he said.
The hospitality sector has already withstood huge damage due to Covid-19 over the course of this year and many thousands of jobs have been lost within associated industries across Scotland.
Nicola Sturgeon made clear in her statements outlining the plans for added restrictions on hospitality venues that the fresh measures have been deemed necessary to stop the renewed spread of coronavirus which has been on an upward curve in recent weeks.
“We regrettably have had to take the decision that we have taken because we have to take action to stop the opportunities for interaction where the virus can spread,” deputy first minister John Swinny told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland on Thursday 8th October.
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