The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has called for proper “financial compensation” for hospitality business in response to the First Minister’s decision to loosen Covid-19 restrictions.
Yesterday, the Scottish government announced that more than two million people who have been living under the strictest Covid-19 protection levels for three weeks will have restrictions eased this Friday (11 December).
Areas such as Angus, Falkirk and Inverclyde will move from Tier three into Tier two and Dumfries and Galloway move to tier 1, however Edinburgh will remain in Tier three.
Under these rules, pubs in the capital will still have to close at 6pm and are prohibited from selling alcohol.
Despite the slight ease of restrictions in other parts of the country the STLA has stated that pubs, bars and restaurants still face “the threat of permanent closure and the risk of job losses”.
They said: ”December is a crucially important part of the year for our industry for a number of reasons, but even more so this year as operators struggle to save their businesses. The licensed hospitality sector has borne the brunt of heavily restrictive measures this year and the opportunity to be open and doing what we do best over.
“Christmas and New Year would have perhaps given a much-needed morale boost for both operators and staff – and help businesses claw back some of the huge financial losses they have incurred in 2020.”
They added: “It is obvious that the licensed hospitality sector is being held up as the sacrificial lamb due to the inability to control the spread of the virus in other sectors and in private homes. The Scottish Government must therefore provide proper financial compensation before it’s too late.”
“This industry has and will continue to do all that it can to suppress the virus, but it needs financial aid at realistic levels – at least similar to that now available in Wales – if the sector and the staff that it employs are to be here after spring 2021 and be part Scotland’s economic recovery.”