The warning came from the UKHospitality (UKH), Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA), Night Time Industries Association (NTIA), Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) and Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), which released the results of a joint survey that showed the “the impossible financial situation that extension of vaccine certification would put the sector in”.
More support needed
The survey of more than 150 business owners and operators revealed 83.6% of businesses said turnover is down by more than 10% versus pre-pandemic levels. It added if vaccine passports were extended to wider hospitality, 76.2% of businesses would not survive with the winter without further Government support and 95.4% would have to cut staff hours (if trade is reduced as expected).
Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon is set to reveal whether the Covid passport scheme will be extended on Tuesday afternoon (16 November). It follows a warning from the country’s chief medical officer last week that Covid case numbers are rising again.
The trade bodies’ survey also found that for those businesses already affected by the policy, 95.2% said trade has been negatively impacted, 87.2% had seen trade reduced by more than 20% since the introduction of the scheme while less than 1% said their business had been unaffected.
In a joint statement, the trade bodies said: “From this survey, it is clear to see Scotland’s hospitality sector is in a precarious situation, making the recovery period all the more important. Four out of five (83.6%) businesses are significantly below pre-pandemic levels and with inflation, debt levels and other costs rising, the sector is facing a very difficult winter ahead.”
Huge negative impact
They continued: “The survey also shows Covid certification has a hugely negative impact on businesses already caught by the policy and any extension will have a devastating impact on the wider hospitality sector. Three quarters (76.2%) say they would not survive without further economic support from Government, should the policy be extended.
“It’s a similarly worrying picture for staff with more than 95% of businesses saying that if trade was to be reduced in line with expectations, they would have to reduce staff hours by the same or greater percentage as the loss of turnover. Given that turnover has reduced by 20% to 40% for businesses impacted by the scheme, this would be a devastating blow for the sector’s 100,000 workers just in the run-up to Christmas. The Scottish Government must take this into consideration when making the decision on any extension of the covid certification and provide the economic support to keep thousands of businesses afloat.”