Scottish hospitality slams lockdown announcement

2nd June, 2021 by Alice Brooker

A trade body has criticised the decision by the Scottish government to keep parts of Scotland under level two restrictions.

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13 local authority areas, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Stirling, will remain in level two

The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has responded to the government announcement that 13 local authority areas in Scotland will remain in level two, calling the decision “damaging and distressing”.

Parts of Scotland, including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Stirling, will be allowed six people from three separate households in pubs, cafés and other hospitality venues from 5 June under level two restrictions, as well as 50 guests at a wedding or funeral.

Businesses such as funfairs, soft play centres and nightclubs will not yet be allowed to reopen.

Spokesperson for SHG, Stephen Montgomery, said: “It’s a bit ironic that just a week before the Euros kick off, the government has moved the goalposts yet again. It’s even worse when you consider that they’re allowing a fan zone to go live where alcohol will be served to 6,000 people a day.

“The further reduction in hospitalised Covid admissions shows that the vaccination effort is working, so surely case numbers don’t matter if those people who do test positive remain fit and healthy.

“We don’t place restrictions on entire cities when it’s winter flu season, so why on earth are we doing it now? And how can businesses trust what the government is saying about the future when the objectives keep changing?”

Before the government’s announcement yesterday (1 June), it was thought that most of Scotland would be placed in level one.

Fifteen council areas will be allowed to enter level one from 5 June, which permits eight people from three separate households to socialise in hospitality venues, and 100 guests to attend a wedding or funeral.

The Scottish government announced many island communities will move to level zero – the lowest level of Scotland’s five-tier system, allowing 200 to attend weddings and funerals.

Currently, level two restrictions apply to all of mainland Scotland and the Isle of Skye, with the exception of Glasgow, which remains in level three.

Montgomery added: “It’s good news that businesses in Glasgow are being released from level three. But it’s devastating news for the brides and grooms across the central belt who were counting on a change, and all the venues that will end up refunding thousands of pounds.

“None of this helps nightclubs and many music venues either, so we can’t forget that there are many in the sector still under extreme pressure.

“We invite the first minister and her cabinet colleagues to visit our premises and learn for themselves how damaging and distressing their approach is.”

During the announcement, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the decision will feel like a “mixed bag” to some.

She commented: “No part of the country is going backwards today. Before the vaccines, that would have been impossible on case numbers like this. But the vaccines are changing the game. And that means we can still be optimistic about our chances of much more normality over the summer and beyond.

“As always, all of us have a part to play in beating this virus back. So please, stick with it, and each other.

The government has announced that support will be provided for local authority areas in level two, such as soft play and other sectors that expected to open.

The SHG recently slammed the “senseless” decision by the Scottish government to end funding for hospitality businesses during the pandemic.

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