Scottish hospitality industry “in limbo”

The continuation of restrictions in Scotland has left the hospitality industry “in limbo,” the managing director of the Scottish Licenses Trade Association, Colin Wilkinson, said.

Nicola Sturgeon announced this week that the requirement for social distancing between groups in public settings and table service in hospitality will continue until at least 24th January.

The 500-person cap on outdoor events has however, been lifted from this Monday. The limit of 100 people for standing events and 200 for seated indoor events will also remain in place.

Colin Wilkinson, said: “That the licensed hospitality sector has to wait until next week to find out if existing restrictions will be lifted from January 24th is unacceptable as it leave business in limbo.

“Of course, we appreciate that the Scottish Government has to consider the health of the nation as well as the economy, but more clarity is required.”

UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said: “The first minister talked about a gradual easing of restrictions, but our sector has been closed or restricted for almost two years now. Any positivity that could be taken from possible changes on the near horizon was scuppered with further talk of vaccine passports and possible wider application. The phrase ‘living with Covid’ sounds more and more like ‘living with significant ongoing restrictions’.”

The Covid certification scheme will be tightened, with events of more than 1,000 people required to check the status of at least half of attendees or at least 1,000 people, whichever is higher. The requirement to be “fully vaccinated” for this scheme will be increased to three doses for those whose second dose was more than four months ago.

Ms Sturgeon, said: “Because of the efforts we have all made – we are in a better position than I feared would be the case when additional measures were announced in December,” she said.

“And I hope we are now seeing signs of improvement. That is allowing us to start the process from Monday of lifting the additional restrictions – and I hope that next week I will be able to confirm further steps in that process.

It is hoped other restrictions to be lifted in the coming weeks could include limits on attendances at live public events, the requirement for distancing between groups in public indoor places and the requirement for table service in hospitality venues serving alcohol.

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