The Scottish licensed trade has welcomed the announcement of the further loosening of Covid restrictions but warns that the expected date of 19 July for all of Scotland to move into Level 0 with a more substantial winding down from 9 August still presents challenges and concerns.
Paul Waterson, media spokesman for the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), said:
We thank the Scottish Government for providing clarity which gives the licensed hospitality sector time to plan and prepare for a more normal trading environment.
However, there are still challenges and we remain concerned that being unable to open without restrictions means that businesses cannot trade at full capacity – it is absolutely crucial that the one-metre social distancing rule is dropped as soon as possible to allow premises to increase customer capacity.
Currently, we can only operate at around 30% of our capacity, but with increased staff costs to provide table service and fewer tables because of social distancing rules, most business continue to operate at a loss, racking up further debt every time they open the doors.”
Pointing out that Scotland’s pubs and bars have already invested millions to provide a safe environment, Mr Waterson added:
We need to be able to open without restrictions as soon as we can.
For those still unable to open because of their size or the entertainment they provide, such as late-night premises and nightclubs, the situation is even more serious. So we continue to call for further financial aid to ensure the survival of the licensed hospitality industry as it plays its part in rebuilding the economy.”