Devastating effect of 2-metre social distancing requirement on Scottish hospitality

Marc-Crothall

Research by the Scottish Tourism Alliance, (STA) shows how devastating it would be to the Scottish hospitality industry if restaurants and hotels were required to open with 2-metre distancing –  85% of restaurants would not be viable and 83% of hotels reported the same outcome if no additional support from Government was forthcoming beyond the next two months and that could lead to them all closing.

Its research comes on the back of a poll by the Scottish Beer and Pub Association earlier in the month which highlighted the fact that 87.2% of publicans also believed it was not financially viable to open at 2-metres. In contrast, 82% of publicans believed it was viable to open at 1-metre.

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said; “The survey confirms that around 85% of businesses within the hotel and restaurant sectors in Scotland will stop trading if the 2-metre physical distancing rule remains in place for the next two months should no further financial support be forthcoming.  The figures reflect the many conversations we have been having with businesses across all sectors in the tourism industry for months and underline just how crucial the current review of the 2-metre physical distancing rule is within the context of the health and economic crises.”

He continued, “Marc Crothall concluded, “Many businesses do not plan to open again with the 2-metre rule in place as it’s simply not economically viable for them to do so.  Coupled with the expected slow recovery forecasted, we expect a steady stream of job losses across the whole of Scotland over the coming weeks.  Also, as we all know, visitors will choose where to stay based on the tourism product available in that area and are unlikely to travel to destinations that have a limited product in the form restaurants, visitor attractions and pubs.  This will have a direct knock-on effect on the current limited demand for accommodation in our destinations and the impact on our local economies and supply chain is likely to be severe.”Highlights from the survey:

  • 69% of hotels surveyed said that they were planning to reopen in July.  11%, however, said they had no plans to open.  5% are already open to key workers and those who require accommodation due to work.

  • Almost a third of hotels surveyed confirmed they were not planning on reopening from 15th July and said that this was down to the 2m physical distancing restrictions which make it economically unsustainable for their business to operate.

  • 78% of hotels surveyed said they would lose more than 50% of turnover with 11% saying that they cannot afford to continue to stay open if physical distancing restrictions are not reduced to 1 metre.

  • 83% of hotels surveyed said that their business would be financially unsustainable if they were required to trade at 2 metres physical distancing without any additional support beyond the next 2 months. This could result in there being up to c25,000 job losses from those surveyed (if we look at the higher end of full/part-time employment figures submitted by those businesses).

  • 87% of restaurants surveyed said they would lose more than 50% of business with 23% saying that they cannot afford to continue if physical distancing restrictions are not reduced to 1 metre.

  • 85% of restaurants said that their business would be financially unsustainable if they were required to trade at 2 metres physical distancing without any additional support beyond the next 2 months. This could result in there being up to c8,900 job losses from those surveyed (if we look at the higher end of full/part-time employment figures submitted by those businesses).

  • 75% of self-catering, B&B and caravan and camping parks said they plan to be open in July.  Despite these types of accommodation having fewer employees and being more self-contained, 11% are still saying that they have no plans to open with the current 2-metre physical distancing rule. http://www.scottishtourismalliance.co.uk

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