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Scotland extends hospitality restrictions for another week

21 October 2020 by
Scotland extends hospitality restrictions for another week

The closure of bars and restaurants in Scotland's central belt has been extended for another week, alongside the country's 6pm curfew and curbs of the sale of alcohol.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the measures, which had been described as a "death sentence" for many hospitality businesses, would be extended beyond the initial 16-day term today.

Bars and restaurants in the central belt had initially been closed on Friday 9 October. The restrictions, which had been set to expire on Sunday, had also meant pubs, bars, restaurants and cafés across Scotland could operate indoors on a restricted basis only, from 6am to 6pm for the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Hotel restaurants could operate beyond 6pm but could only serve residents and no alcohol. Businesses can continue to serve alcohol outdoors until the existing curfew of 10pm, and the rule of six will continue to apply.

Sturgeon said the government "believe they [the measures] may already be making a difference", in slowing the spread of coronavirus.

Scotland's five central belt health authorities include Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran.

Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: "Recent restrictions were framed as a ‘temporary' short, sharp shock, but the extension is an indication that we can only expect a continued government stranglehold on hospitality that will have devastating consequences.

"We knew that next week would be pivotal for many businesses as furlough comes to an end. With current restrictions remaining in place until 2 November, and no indication of what the new tier system will entail, the financial support package must be increased or countless venues will be forced to close for good, and tens of thousands of people will lose their jobs."

From 2 November Scotland will move to a five-tier system, set to be unveiled by the first minister on Friday.

UKHospitality executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod added: "This is another catastrophic blow for Scottish hospitality. It is becoming increasingly difficult for businesses to keep pace with the constant change in the restrictions they are operating within.

"Many of these businesses are barely hanging on. They have had their revenue strangled or shut off altogether and many will have little or no cash in reserve. Extending the restrictions for another week could finish off those businesses that had just about manged to formulate a plan to see them through the initial lockdown.

"The support on offer isn't going to be enough to save the sector. The £40m announced by the Scottish Government was intended to cover a 16-day period to 25 October. That sum was inadequate when it was announced and it is only going to be diluted further.

Photo: Shutterstock

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