Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), a new industry body which represents many of Scotland's leading hospitality operators, has called on the Scottish government to shut down licensed premises that flout social distancing regulations.
SHG has issued the plea in light of the revised Scottish government guidance limiting gatherings to six people from two households and has demanded that ‘rogue licensees' who fail to enforce social distancing regulations should be shut down immediately to safeguard the wider industry.
The new body comprises some of Scotland's largest and best-known restaurant and bar businesses, including the restaurant chain DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings and Signature Pubs. The businesses in the group collectively employ almost 6,000 staff across the country and have a combined turnover of over £275m.
Spokesperson for SHG Stephen Montgomery, who runs two hotels in Dumfries and Galloway, said they had been forced to act because the industry is facing "an existential crisis". He added that all members of the group were calling on the Scottish government to shut down businesses who fail to adhere to "the very highest standards of social distancing, PPE and other essential hygiene measures".
He said: "The Scottish government simply must not take a blanket approach if a few rogue licensees fail to do the right thing.
"Targeting the few bars and restaurants which are breaking the rules is the proper and proportionate way to proceed, particularly in light of the revised Scottish government guidance limiting gatherings to six people from two households.
"If you shut down restaurants and bars, you are massively increasing the risk of more house parties and irresponsible gatherings, where track and trace is almost impossible."