An update on the measures being implemented currently north of the border is due today (Tuesday 18 January) from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
“A lot hinges on what the First Minister says,” said UKHospitality executive director Leon Thompson. “Our businesses need to know the Scottish government is supporting them as they attempt to begin recovery from the financial impact of two years of closure and restrictions. Those restrictions, coupled with the health messaging over Christmas and Hogmanay, were incredibly damaging for businesses already carrying unsustainable levels of debt, sorely depleted cash reserves and in need of a strong festive trading period.”
Thompson continued: “Hospitality needs to know that it can begin trading fully, including nightclubs, so we’re calling on the Scottish government to lift restrictions no later than 24 January. This will send a positive message that Scotland is open for business and help our businesses as they set out again on what we all hope will be the road towards recovery.”
Commenting on the delay in promised emergency support funds reaching hospitality businesses, Thompson added: “It is regrettable that businesses are still waiting to receive the financial support promised by the Scottish government before Christmas. While that money will fall way short of compensating for their incredible losses, it can nevertheless help with immediate cash flow issues. It is vital that the funds reach our businesses who need to pay wages and suppliers.”
UKHospitality Scotland claimed sector businesses have been saddled with a collective debt of more than £1bn.
Return to workplace
On Monday 17 January, restrictions on outdoor events were removed in Scotland while hospitality businesses operating table service-only and unable to run indoor events want restrictions on them to be lifted, and for nightclubs to be allowed to reopen.
As well as an end to the restrictions, UKHospitality Scotland is calling on the Scottish government to begin to encourage a return to the workplace. It said hospitality venues in city centres continue to struggle without the custom brought by city workers and their future survival depends on a clear signal from the Scottish Government about the reopening of offices.