New industry group warns Scottish gov to shut down rogue operators

A new body representing many of Scotland’s restaurant and bar owners has called on the Scottish Government to “immediately shut down” licensed premises which flout social distancing regulations.

The newly-formed Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) comprises many of the country’s largest and best-known restaurant and bar businesses, including The DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers, Manorview Group, Lisini Pub Co, Caledonia Inns, G1 Group, Siberia Bar and Hotel, Mor-Rioghain Group, and Caledonian Heritable.

The businesses are founded and based in Scotland and collectively contribute a “significant investment” to the Scottish economy, employing close to 6,000 staff across the country. The well-known venues also have a combined turnover of over £275m.

The organisation has “demanded’ that ‘rogue licensees’ who fail to enforce social distancing regulations, in light of the revised Scottish Government guidance limiting gatherings to six people from two households, should be shut down immediately in order to safeguard the wider industry.

Hotelier Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the SHG, who runs two hotels in Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We have been forced to act because our industry is facing an existential crisis.The vast majority of bars and restaurants in Scotland have been adhering religiously to every regulation that has been introduced because we realise the very future of our industry is at stake.

“The Scottish Government simply must not take a blanket approach if a few rogue licensees fail to do the right thing.All members of the SHG are united in calling on the Scottish Government to immediately shut down the operators of bars and restaurants who don’t adhere to the very highest standards of social distancing, PPE and other essential hygiene measures.”

He added: “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.

“Responsible bar and restaurant owners across Scotland are also essential to the effective use of the track and trace system. 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.”

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