Calls to mass vaccinate young Scots as pubs 'needlessly closing'

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Mass vaccinations: pub bosses in Scotland have said vaccinations need to catch up with England (image: kovop58 / Getty)
Mass vaccinations: pub bosses in Scotland have said vaccinations need to catch up with England (image: kovop58 / Getty)

Related tags Scotland Coronavirus Legislation Health and safety

Mass vaccinating young Scots would prevent hundreds of venues being forced to close their doors and help workers' mental health, pub bosses have claimed.

The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has said momentum in vaccinating all under 25 year olds would solve the current situation of venues closing because young staff must self-isolate. 

More than 3.6m people have received a first dose of a Covid jab while more than 2.6m have had both doses, according to the Scottish Government’s latest figures.

Pub bosses have said walk in vaccinations must be rolled out across Scotland for over-18s as in England.

Young Scots face a postcode lottery with jabs as only some health boards have walk-in vaccination centres, the SHG said.

Pubs were willing to close their businesses to allow staff to get vaccinated at times when vaccine centres may be less busy, the trade body said.

It estimated hundreds of pubs and restaurants were being forced to close because young workers are not protected from the virus yet and are more likely to test positive or be asked to self isolate.

“More jabs not only protect the NHS and lives, but also jobs and Scotland’s economy,” said SHG spokesperson and operator Stephen Montgomery. 

“The data shows that numbers are soaring among young adults and falling in older age-groups, which is a clear sign of the vaccination programme’s success.”

Needlessly closing

He added: “While large numbers of people in Scotland have still not had their first vaccination, Scottish businesses are needlessly closing. We see mass vaccination programmes happening south of the border, we now need to see that happening in Scotland.”

The calls come as the sector is facing a double whammy of a staff recruitment crisis and a need for extra hands on deck because of Covid restrictions.

Managing director of Buzzworks, a multiple site pub operator, Kenny Blair said his young team were “now bearing the brunt of isolation”.

He said: “If the Scottish Government can’t or won’t offer proper financial support for businesses that can’t trade viably, then mass vaccinations are the answer. 

“The majority of my team are under 25 and have not received a jab. They are the age-group that are now bearing the brunt of isolation. It not only means that they can’t work but it increases their anxiety, stress and ultimately their mental health.

Layer of protection

“We would happily shut all of our premises for the day if that meant that we were adding another layer of protection both for our teams and our customers, so that our staff could get the jab.”

All major Covid restrictions will be scrapped on 9 August in Scotland as “a very significant degree of normality will be restored,” First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said yesterday (Tuesday 22 June).

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that mainland areas of Scotland would not move to the lowest level of Covid restrictions until 19 July.

A three week delay will mean more people can get jabbed and have protection against the spreading Delta coronavirus variant, Sturgeon said.

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