UKHospitality Scotland reacts to Stirling Uni report

UKHospitality Scotland has made comment on the publication of the report by the University of Stirling on COVID transmission risks in bars.

Executive Director Willie Macleod (pictured) said, “The research by the University of Stirling paints an alarmist and almost wholly inaccurate picture of the efforts to which Scotland’s hospitality businesses have gone to keep people safe.

“The report appears flawed in the extreme. It is limited to just 29 licensed premises out of an estimated 9,000 across the country, with these venues only being visited for a maximum of two hours each.

The report states that research was also carried out during the period of May to August 2020, even though businesses were only permitted to reopen in mid-July. We do not agree that the efforts of the researchers are anywhere near enough to accurately represent even a reasonable proportion of the sector, never mind its entirety.'

Macleod continued, “The vast majority of businesses, owners, managers and staff members have taken a diligent approach to conform with Government regulations and guidance. Industry investment in PPE and other measures was around £900m UK-wide and around £90m in Scotland. They have, in some cases, completely remodelled their premises, installed new equipment and overhauled staff training to provide safe venues.

“Published public health data repeatedly shows that hospitality is not where transmission occurs on any significant scale and we refute the suggestion that businesses have broken official guidance. There also is no evidence to support measures such as the curfew, which the report advocates, but other commentators have agreed was counterproductive.

“Hospitality businesses have not been responsible for COVID transmissions in any meaningful way, but they continue to bear the brunt of massively damaging restrictions. They are too often the victims of alarming rhetoric and specious innuendo.'

Macleod closed, 'Their future, and the livelihoods of their employees, is at risk if they are forced to shoulder any more burdens introduced on the back of misleading and misguided calls for further restrictions.”