Another week and another set of restrictions come to a town near you. Last weekend there were rumours coming out that places would be raised to tier 4, but secretly we all didn’t want to believe it.
Are these rumours actually leaks put out by the Government to prepare us before the First Minister takes to her feet to unleash those rumours as actual fact?
People are thinking about Christmas shopping, and they are combining that with a drive out of town, even though they know it’s not really allowed going from a tier 3 area to a tier 2.
Being down in Dumfriesshire and on the side of the M74, we saw this all weekend, with people also trying to book tables for lunch etc. We always ask for a postcode and when they give you a tier 3 postcode and you tell them you can’t take the booking, and why, it’s hard to believe some of the language and comments that people come out with………..eh hang on, it’s not our fault.
With the trade now facing in many places a further 3-week lockdown on tier 4 and many still in tier 3, it’s hard to even try to think or plan for what may only be a small 2-week window for the “golden month” to see us all through January.
Let’s face it, we won’t get far with the funding the Scottish Government are giving us that’s for sure……….oh yes, when we are on the funding matter……..has anyone that was forced to close in central built since 9th October received the 20% furlough top up that we were promised that actually turned out to be £1650 per business? So now it’s 42 days of waiting and many businesses could be doing with the money.
Why is it that Scottish Government always seems to be on the back foot? Why is it that these restrictions are announced and then it’s a long drawn out affair to try to get the system up and going to actually make the payments……or actually how much we are getting. If we ran our businesses like this we would be bankrupt in a month. The planning, preparation and execution of all this has been nothing short of farcical to be fair. Again, the lack of consultation with the trade has shown this up. It reminds me of that Abba song “Money Money Money”……and don’t get me started on the music!
My big gripe this week has got to be the rising figures in positive cases, up 13% in some areas of greater Glasgow, but yet here we are 6 weeks since 9th October, numbers still rising, hospitality across the central belt closed apart from a few cafes.
This week we saw PHE (Public Health England) come out to say that supermarkets are the primary setting for those who have tested positive, followed up closely by schools, hospitals and care homes, no mention of hospitality.
Just when will we see the evidence from Scottish Government on the reasons why hospitality is targeted and just how many people have had an onward transmission after being in a licenced premise?
The hospitality sector has been decimated by the restrictions we have had imposed on us since 15th July. We have put in idea after idea, proposal after proposal, we have told Scottish Government exactly what would happen if certain restrictions were put in place like the music ban (which has been a total farce), and the 10pm curfew, but they went ahead with it anyway, driving people in only one single direction…….other social gatherings like house parties. Here we are, faced yet again with no light at the end of the tunnel.
Whilst the Scottish Hospitality Group totally stands by our ethos that health must come before profit, these new tier 4 restrictions along with the cap on trading hours in other tiers, will without a shadow of a doubt, close many long-standing family businesses for good.
I was always told that I should end any article with a positive so in closing I would like to say well done to Steve Clarke and his team on a fantastic win last week, and I hope that in June next year we will all be able to watch it live with fans in the stadium and pubs full with happy people.
Also this week we have the Dram Awards on Wednesday 25th, so we are all looking forward to that. Good luck to everyone involved, I am sure it will be a great night.
Leigh…….get the door, I need to iron my dinner suit!
Stephen Montgomery is a hotelier and spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group