The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has branded a likely delay in moving Scotland to level zero “a never-ending hell for hospitality workers and the businesses that employ them, especially those in the music and night-time sectors.” Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs yesterday that it was “unlikely” any area would see restrictions eased on 28 June and that moving Scotland to level zero was likely to be pushed back three weeks.
It means restrictions on hospitality businesses could be in place until the middle of July, in order that more people could be vaccinated. A full review of restrictions is due to take place next week.
SHG spokesperson Stephen Montgomery (pictured), has called for the Scottish government to review the practical suggestions it has offered in the past.
He said, “Now is the right time to revisit the practical suggestions we put forward several times at the government’s request, such as tweaking the tiers so it’s easier for responsible businesses to trade viably while still protecting people’s health.
“This is especially important because the whole sector is facing a recruitment crisis that’s putting another brake on our recovery.”
He added that the Scottish government had shown flexibility and ‘understanding’ the Euros and the fanzones and that all hospitality was looking for was the ‘same consideration’, likewise there should be more of a focus on hospital data rather than cases and more financial support for struggling businesses. .
Said Stephen, “A first step would be to base decisions more on hospital data than cases, as these clearly tell a different, more important story. We don’t shut down society and the economy every winter because of the flu. There’s got to be a balance.
“There are two other things we want from the Scottish Government that they can do right now. The first is to get out from behind their desks to understand how better policy decisions can work for everyone. The second is to make sure there’s proper financial support for businesses that can’t trade viably for no fault of their own, including when one positive result means critical staff having to self-isolate.
“The health secretary was happy to reassure himself with a visit to the Fanzone. We’ve been crying out repeatedly for senior ministers to do this with hospitality too and it’s never happened yet. Now is the perfect time to put that right.”
Sturgeon’s statement came after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday that plans to lift restrictions in England would be delayed by four weeks until 19 July.