This has been a week of highs and lows – Boris Johnson gave more detail than we expected on England’s roadmap, and actually suggested a date of 21st June as the date that all restrictions would be dropped. Of course, this was dependent on ‘data’. He also suggested hospitality could open, outside and inside from 17th May. So heads went up, finally some real light at the end of the tunnel.
This optimism was dashed the very next day when the First Minister gave us Scotland’s roadmap – it lacked any detail or clarity and the earliest date for opening outside – 26th April.
Fred MacAulay called it a ‘skid mark to nowhere!” He is not wrong!
The backlash was immediate – and not just from hospitality. Everyone I spoke to was angry, disappointed, frustrated… and worried.
Tanja Lister of Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland went as far as gathering 80 signatures from around the country and started a petition to have the same opening date for hospitality as England – 17th May for inside and outside hospitality. News programmes both on radio and TV interviewed people from the country from Donald Macleod to Stephen Montgomery and the disappointment and anger was evident and a barrage of commentators reporting on the lack of clarity and ultra-cautious Scottish route amplified the dismay.
The very next day the First Minister rolled back a little –we would only be two weeks behind England if all goes to plan. She also said she would be looking at the Levels (Tiers). There was a very definite change of tone. While Jason Leitch has also gone on record as saying if the level of prevalence in areas is low there is no reason why they would have to re-open in Tier 3.
Every hospitality group and association in the land is battling on behalf of the trade – you know the asks – they too are frustrated. They want to be ‘in’ on planning the hospitality route out.
What do Civil servants know about running a hospitality business? Bring in the experts, before it is too late. They are considering the opinions of scientists but don’t they realise hospitality is a science in its own way.
There is an election coming up… my advice to all hospitality businesses is to keep the pressure on. Everyone can do their bit. Talk/email/write to your local MSP’s of all parties… keep hospitality to the fore. I constantly amazed by how little politicians know regarding the costs of running a pub, bar, restaurant or hotel even when it is closed.
And keep your fingers crossed the Chancellor has good news for us all.