Scottish operators despair over draft guidance

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish reopening: operators have already said they feel targeted by a ban on selling alcohol indoors ahead of 26 April (image: Getty/Jennifer Sophie)
Scottish reopening: operators have already said they feel targeted by a ban on selling alcohol indoors ahead of 26 April (image: Getty/Jennifer Sophie)

Related tags Scotland Hospitality Glasgow Edinburgh

Draft guidelines for the reopening of Scottish hospitality businesses have been met with opposition from the pub sector.

Under draft rules published during the week commencing 12 April, Scottish pubs will have to ensure that there is 1m distancing between members of different households seated at the same table.

“Everyone visiting a hospitality setting must remain at least one metre apart from the next person, unless from the same household or a carer,” it states.

Operators have said this is an impossible ask and one they do not have the resources to fulfill. 

In the next stage of lockdown easing in Scotland, pubs will be permitted to sell alcohol outdoors to a maximum group of six people from six households.

However, they will not be able to sell alcohol indoors but can serve food and soft drinks to a cap of six people from two households indoors until 8pm.

Impossibility for reopening

Carina Contini, co-owner of Cantini restaurants in Edinburgh, told BBC Radio's Good Morning Scotland​ the rules would be "crippling" for the industry.

"They have thrown us an absolute bombshell, an absolute impossibility in terms of reopening," she said. "The bookings that we have already got we will have to phone up and say 'I'm sorry we can't honour your booking because we can't host this level of capacity'".

Linda Bauld, professor of public health at the University of Edinburgh, told Good Morning Scotland​, that rules were yet to be confirmed.

She said: "It is extremely important that the sector have the opportunity to comment, to express their concerns and to see what is feasible for them.

"I imagine the reason the 1m requirement between different household members is in place is to provide additional protection but the government has to balance up additional harms at the moment."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce that Scotland will be able to move to three level on Monday 26 April later today (Tuesday 20 April).

The Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) warned of up to 24,000 jobs at risk in the night time economy as businesses run out of cash.

NTIA spokesman Gavin Stevenson called on the Government to either “provide substantial and immediate additional support” for businesses forced to close or hit by tough trading rules or to “provide a clear route map with target dates for the end of all legal restrictions on capacity, activity, and opening hours.”

He added: “If neither of those options are forthcoming then our First Minister is, in effect, asking thousands of small Scottish business owners to bankrupt themselves.”

Related topics Legislation

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