UKH Scotland reacts to First Minister’s reopening announcement

Reacting to the First Minister’s statement, UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director Willie Macleod said, “There is a lot to unpack from the First Minister’s announcement and, as ever, we are going to need to see the detail.

'We had put forward a reopening proposition to the Scottish Government which would have given us more flexibility, but at least we do now have a plan.'

Macleod went on, 'A nationwide lifting of controls, rather than the previous local system, will be simpler and give businesses the clarity they need. After such a devastating year for hospitality, it is encouraging to see light at the end of the tunnel and dates that we can begin to work towards.

“There is, however, going to be significant disappointment from businesses that hospitality will be so tightly restricted in the first weeks of the reopening. We had proposed that alcohol be served indoors with a meal, so for that not to be allowed is a major disappointment. Restricting outdoor spaces to just six people from three households will likewise be a significant barrier to viability.

'The curfews, 10pm for outdoors and 8pm for indoors, will also seriously restrict businesses’ ability to break even. These businesses are, in many cases, only just clinging on.'

Macleod continued, “The reopening of accommodation businesses from 26 April will be a significant boost, provided it does indeed cover the entirety of the sector, including hotels. We need clarification and we look forward to the Scottish Government confirming that will be the case. We also need clarification that restrictions around indoor hospitality, specifically the 8pm curfew, will not extend to hotel residents.

“The increase in the limit for weddings is very welcome news; not just for those celebrating the marriage, but for event and wedding centres that have seen their businesses effectively wiped out over the year.

“Lifting of travel restrictions within Scotland and to Scotland from the rest of the UK is a huge positive and it is vital that restrictions on international travel follow as swiftly as the data allows. We look forward to report, to the UK Government, on the resumption of international travel due on 12 April.'

Macleod finished, “We also await further detail on the grants announced today. They support must find its way quickly to businesses that need it most.”