Operators don’t expect normal trading before a COVID vaccine

Latest SLTA survey predicts 12,500 industry jobs could go due to the pandemic

pub interior

NEARLY half of Scottish operators don’t expect trading to return to anything close to normal until a COVID-19 vaccine is found, according to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA).

The vast majority of operators responding to the most recent SLTA business survey – 89% – said their revenues were down on last year, with 38% reporting decreases of more than 50%

Nearly half of respondents – 45% – said they didn’t expect trading to return to normal until a vaccine for COVID-19 was developed.

And the survey predicted up to 12,500 job losses in the sector due to the pandemic as operators struggle with lower footfall and revenues.

While most respondents were positive about support from both the Scottish and UK governments, the UK Government and the banks received higher ratings than the Scottish Government.

SLTA managing director, Colin Wilkinson, said the pandemic “has been more severe for Scotland’s pubs and bars than virtually any other sector”.

“Our sector has worked very hard to prepare for reopening and to ensure customers enjoy a safe environment,” said Wilkinson.

“The average pub or bar spent £2500 on training and social distancing measures, and this equates to a £15 million investment across the entire sector.

“Also, many pubs and bars have adapted by making increased use of digital technology and offering restaurant quality food and cocktails for home delivery.

“However, with many people working from home, and local restrictions, one of Scotland’s major employment sectors faces unparalleled difficulties and the current business climate is leading to a real threat of permanent business closures and job losses.”

The survey is based on quantitative research from over 600 Scottish outlets.