More than 100 Scottish hoteliers have written to the Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon urging immediate changes to new Covid-19 measures introduced last Friday (9 October).
Hotelier signatories include Dan and Rohaise Rose-Bristow, owner of the five-red-AA-starred, 18-bedroom Torridon hotel in Wester Ross; Stephen Leckie, chairman and chief executive of the Crieff Hydro Family of Hotels; and Neil Ellis, general manager of Edinburgh's Place hotel and chairman of the Edinburgh Hotels Association.
They say that the new rules, which prohibit the sale of alcohol in public areas to hotel guests, will lead to thousands of job losses because of a damaging drop in revenues.
Jill Chalmers, managing director of the five-red-AA-starred, 20-bedroom Glenapp Castle (pictured) in Ballantrae, Ayrshire, is spearheading the call. Her letter said: "Not being able to sell alcohol in public areas to hotel residents in Scotland negatively impacts their stay and future guests are already starting to cancel their bookings. This measure in particular is threatening the small thread of revenue – a lifeline for many – which still exists for hotel businesses in Scotland at this difficult time.
"We urge you to reconsider this and allow hotel guests, staying a minimum of one night, to consume alcohol in all settings, not simply room service alone. In addition, we believe that we should be able to serve non-residents until 6pm, as a café is allowed to do.
"If there is no change, we have no doubt that we will suffer deeper losses. We are talking about trying to survive, not about profitability. Without this small change in your policy, there will be thousands more job losses in the coming month."
Under the new rules, wedding parties already booked at hotels can consume alcohol, yet non-wedding guests, staying under the same roof, are unable to.
Chalmers added: "You can imagine the pressure on hotel staff, and the potential threats they might face, having to negotiate with different guests over the measures. It is unreasonable to expect staff to deal with this especially if guests try and join the wedding groups in order to drink alcohol."