Scotland’s reopening plan will ‘destroy’ hospitality

The Scottish government’s plans to reopen hospitality businesses “will do serious harm” to the sector resulting in closures and job losses, trade body UK Hospitality has warned.

The Scottish government has outlined a road map to ease lockdown restrictions across the country through four flexible phases, which will be reviewed every three weeks.

The plan states hospitality businesses with outdoor spaces will be able to reopen during phase two of the plan, but those without outdoor space will not be allowed to reopen until phase three.

UK Hospitality said it was concerned plans to reopen hospitality and tourism businesses in Scotland have been “planned arbitrarily” without consulting the industry.

Willie Macleod, UK Hospitality executive director for Scotland, said: “We are seriously concerned that the Scottish government’s plan for reopening will do more harm than good. It appears not to be based in any logic and has the potential to create a two-tier sector with many already-hammered businesses being left behind.

“Reopening hospitality businesses should be phased according to agreed protocols to ensure healthy, hygienic and safe spaces for staff members and tourists. The Scottish government’s plans rests on whether businesses have an outdoor space or not; not whether they are able to operate safely with social distancing guidelines in place.

“Subjecting businesses that do not have outdoor spaces but could operate perfectly safely to further forced closure is illogical and will do serious harm.”

Macleod stressed the need to give every bar, restaurant, hotel and club the “best possible chance to survive” but admitted that the stark reality was many would not.

“Hospitality and tourism businesses in Scotland have already been hammered by this crisis and most will have had no revenue for over three months,” he added. “Many businesses have also struggled to access financial support and the larger businesses have been denied grant support altogether.

“The reality is that some businesses will not survive this crisis. The Scottish government’s plan for reopening must ensure that every single business is given the best possible chance to survive. The route map announced does not do this.”

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Author: Melita Kiely {authorlink}