Scottish Test and Protect is crippling hospitality and needs an overhaul, says SHG 

Stephen Montgomery

A  growing number of hospitality businesses are closing because of the delays and confusion generated by Scotland’s Test & Protect system, says the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG). 

The system designed to break chains of transmission of COVID-19 recently came under considerable criticism for not being able to cope with rising coronavirus cases. Anyone who has symptoms or tests positive for the virus is asked to self-isolate at home for 10 days, as do those who have been in close contact with that person. 

Says SHG spokesperson, Stephen Montgomery, “As a system, it’s severely testing and it’s not necessarily protecting,” 

“There are two camps currently within Scottish hospitality, premises that are closed or those that will have to close. No-one will escape it and it’s primarily due to system delays. 

“The lag in the Test & Protect teams coming back to businesses has forced operators to weigh up the cost of closure versus risk of infection. Responsible operators by nature of their trade, are opting to shut, but at a cost of £15,000 per average sized business with much needed turnover being lost,  this is not viable.  Tragically, for smaller owners, it is pushing them even deeper into the red, and to the point of no return. 

“As an industry, of course we agree with the principle of testing and tracing to stop transmission, but ultimately it has to be underpinned by a robust system that actually works. 

“This, coupled with the staffing crisis in hospitality, is just another push into business closure, especially now that businesses are being asked to contribute 10% towards furloughed employees’ unworked wages. Enough is enough, we now need reassurance from the Scottish Government that there will be some sort of financial compensation for businesses that are having to close because of the flawed Test and Protect system.” 

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