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On-trade in central Scotland to close

Published:  07 October, 2020

On-trade businesses across Scotland’s central belt, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, have been ordered to shut down for 16 days from this Friday. 

The shut down, announced by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this afternoon, covers Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley.

Takeaway will still be allowed in these areas. 

In addition, Sturgeon said restaurants, bars and pubs across the rest of Scotland would be ordered to close early and must not serve alcohol indoors during the same period, with business only allowed to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks inside from 6am to 6pm.

Outlets will still be able to serve people outside, with hotel restaurants also allowed to serve people after the specified hours, but without alcohol.

There would however be an exemption to these rules in all parts of Scotland for celebrations associated with specific life events, including already booked weddings and funerals, Sturgeon said.  

“The reason we are not closing indoor hospitality completely is that we know the benefits, in terms of reducing loneliness and isolation, of giving people - particularly those who live alone - somewhere they can meet a friend for a coffee and a chat,” she said.

The government would make £40m available to support businesses affected by the new measures, she added.

UK Hospitality executive director for Scotland, Willie Macleod, said: “This is a total catastrophe. Scottish hospitality is already on the brink and is unable to look ahead with any degree of confidence. 

“Forced closures will spell the end for many, many venues which have no cash flow and will have exhausted their reserves. Severe restrictions to those businesses not forced to close will amount to a closure for many. It is likely to be the final straw for many that were only just hanging on. We are going to see businesses fold and many jobs lost.

“The First Minister stated that hospitality was by far the most impacted of sectors and we now need urgent confirmation of the details of the support package and how it will be applied. Without detail, it looks as though the £40m announced by the First Minister will not nearly be sufficient to support the sector. Any support to underwrite furlough will have to go far beyond the Job Support Scheme, which seems unlikely to be taken up by many hospitality businesses.

“We also need a route map for those businesses in the five health board areas across the central belt forced to close. We must have a clear plan for their reopening. We cannot afford to be left in limbo. It will just mean businesses unable to plan, employees worried for their jobs, consumer confidence shattered and businesses all the more likely to fail. The Government has to move quickly to save businesses and keep jobs alive.”

The Scottish Hospitality Group accused Sturgeon of "effectively signing a death sentence" for many businesses.