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UKH Scotland criticises Christmas party cancellations

Director of Public Health Science, Dr Nick Phin, said postponing plans would help to ‘protect ourselves’

UK Hospitality Scotland has criticised guidance from public health officials in Scotland to cancel Christmas parties.

People in Scotland have been urged to cancel Christmas parties due to the rising number of cases of the Omicron Covid variant, after Public Health Scotland said a number of outbreaks caused by Omicron were linked to Christmas parties.

Dr Nick Phin, its director of Public Health Science, said postponing plans would help to “protect ourselves”.

Leon Thompson, UKHospitality’s executive director for Scotland, said: “Hospitality businesses in Scotland are already under severe financial pressure and this advice from Public Health Scotland for people to abandon their plans for Christmas parties is already hitting our sector hard.

“Within minutes of their statement being issued, businesses were receiving cancellations, leaving Christmas and Hogmanay trade in tatters. Businesses take up to a third of their annual revenue at this time of year. Public Health Scotland has single-handedly jeopardised the survival of businesses and the jobs people rely on.”

He added: “This came just after the delivery of the Scottish Budget which offered little hope to our beleaguered sector. However, with little financial support on offer, the Scottish Government is still happy to start considering a tourist tax again, burdening our sector further.

“We need support and a joined-up approach from our government – not punishment. Hospitality businesses across the country are justified in feeling outraged.”

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