The trade body said under the Scottish Government’s current levels framework to ease the country out of lockdown, many pubs will not be viable until level zero.
Pubs reopened in Scotland yesterday (Monday 26 April) as the country was placed into level three of its coronavirus strategy.
Licensees can serve customers indoors as well as outdoors but are banned from serving alcohol inside and must close at 8pm.
The next stage of lockdown easing – level two – would see bars able to stay open until 10.30pm indoors with alcohol allowed and two-hour booking slots recommended, from 17 May.
Safety a priority
SBPA president Edith Monfries said: “For many premises, the ongoing restrictions mean they still cannot open and even for those who are opening their doors again, the restrictions make a return to profitability difficult, and many will operate at a deficit until further progress through the levels.
“We completely understand and appreciate the cautious approach being adopted by Government in seeking to limit the spread of the virus, and so do the businesses we represent.”
Businesses had made huge investments into health and safety measures, the president added.
Providing no “major hospitality related incidents,” the Government should consider allowing a return to licensing hours, Monfries said.
Survival and bankruptcy
She explained: “Unfortunately, the maintenance of the curfew severely limits profitable hours and for many of Scotland licensed premises, it could be the difference between survival and bankruptcy.
“Removing the curfew restrictions in time for Monday 17 May would provide an enormous boost to the whole licensed trade and deliver renewed confidence in the sector, which would be hugely welcomed by everyone in the trade. Let us show we are safe, and then let us trade viably so we can kickstart Scotland’s recovery together.”