Mass vaccinations for all over-18s would end Scotland’s ongoing crippling lockdown measures, claim Scotland’s leading hospitality operators who are calling for the First Minister to move up on jabs and down on levels as Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that lockdown easing would be paused for three weeks to allow more time for people to be vaccinated. This means mainland areas will not move to the lowest level zero restrictions until 19 July.The hope is that the remaining rules will be lifted on 9 August.
“More jabs not only protect the NHS and lives, but also jobs and Scotland’s economy. The data shows that numbers are soaring among young adults and falling in older age-groups, which is a clear sign of the vaccination programme’s success,” says the Scottish Hospitality Group’s (SHG) spokesperson, Stephen Montgomery.
SHG members have offered to close their businesses to enable staff to get vaccinated en masse at suitable times when vaccine centres may be less busy. The offer has come after walk-in vaccinations for over 18s became widely available in England, however in Scotland drop in vaccination centres for over 18s are limited to select health boards.
Scotland’s hospitality sector supports a workforce predominantly under the age of 25, who are having to self-isolate under the current restrictions if they test positive. As a result, hundreds of Scottish pubs and restaurants and wider businesses are closing their doors, which Stephen Montgomery claims, “would be entirely preventable if we caught up with the vaccination programme in England.
“While large numbers of people in Scotland have still not had their first vaccination, Scottish businesses are needlessly closing. We see mass vaccination programmes happening south of the border, we now need to see that happening in Scotland.”
“If the Scottish Government can’t or won’t offer proper financial support for businesses that can’t trade viably, then mass vaccinations are the answer,” says Kenny Blair, managing director of Scottish hospitality chain, Buzzworks. “The majority of my team are under 25 and have not received a jab. They are the age-group that are now bearing the brunt of isolation. It not only means that they can’t work but is increases their anxiety, stress and ultimately their mental health.
“We would happily shut all of our premises for the day if that meant that we were adding another layer of protection both for our teams and our customers, so that our staff could get the jab.”