Scottish MSPs have approved the country's five-tier strategic framework despite concerns that businesses are lacking the guidance to implement the measures.
The new system will be implemented from 2 November with five tiers of restrictions that have already been labelled unnecessarily complex by hospitality groups [https://www.thecaterer.com/news/scotland-five-tier-system].
After Holyrood last night backed the proposals, UKHospitality executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod said it was disappointing that tight restrictions around alcohol were to remain in place. Under the proposals alcohol can be served outdoors in level 3, but hotels remain unable to serve alcohol to residents other than in restricted circumstances.
He said: "When these businesses have made a huge effort and spent considerable sums making areas Covid-secure, it remains a big blow. The level 3 restrictions around foodservice without alcohol are incredibly tight."
Macleod added that businesses needed time to plan and "get to grips with new measures".
He said: "It is vital that businesses know with certainty that adequate financial support will be made available over the duration of the five-level system to compensate business forced to close, either through legislation or lack of financial viability.
"The sector has spent an estimated £80m-£90m making premises safe and able to welcome customers. There are huge costs associated with closure, too. Businesses are spending around £10,000-£15,000 per week just to stay closed. Financial support must be expansive and reflect these realities."
The new strategic framework has five levels. At Level 0, weddings and funerals will be limited to 50 people, eight people from a maximum of three households will be able to socialise indoors, and 15 people from five households can meet outdoors.
From Level 1, this reduces to the rule of six, and weddings and funerals will be limited to 20 people. From Level 2, no in-home socialising will be allowed, but households will still be able to mix in hospitality settings. Level 3 will see alcohol sales in hospitality venues restricted to accompany a meal, while Level 4 will see the closure of hospitality premises.
Accommodation services such as hotels can remain open up to Level 4, when stays will be limited to the essential only, such as work-related travel.