The Scottish Licence Trade Association (SLTA) has reiterated its disappointment that bars, restaurants and cafés will still not be able to serve alcohol indoors until the licensed hospitality industry begins to reopens later next month.
The news follows an announcement made by first minister Nicola Sturgeon who stated that while the data will continue to be monitored, there is now “extreme confidence” that parts of the country currently in level 4 will move to level 3 on 26 April.
Sturgeon also confirmed the stay local requirement will be lifted from Friday 16 April, which will allow travel anywhere within Scotland for the purposes of outdoor socialising, recreation, or informal exercise.
SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said that while his organisation welcomed yesterday’s announcement, it will “do nothing” to help the vast majority of licensed trade businesses.
He acknowledges the continuing need for caution and “baby steps” approach but claims that businesses opening on 26 April will “be unviable”.
Wilkinson said: “We are now urging the Scottish government to consider loosening these restrictions to give our industry a fighting chance. England has reopened its hospitality industry so let’s fall into line with our colleagues south of the border.
“The typical small hospitality business has taken on between £60,000 and £90,000 in bank debt and deferred bills as of February this year just to survive Covid – and the debt is rising with every week of low or no income.”