Trade group: shut down rogue operators

Scottish Government urged against taking a “blanket approach”


A NEWLY-formed trade group has called on the Scottish Government to “immediately shut down” premises found to be flouting COVID-19 regulations.

The recently-formed Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG)  has said “rogue licensees” contravening the Scottish Government’s regulations should be closed “to safeguard the wider industry” and avoid another national lockdown.

It comes a day after first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that the number people able to meet in licensed premises will be reduced to six people from two households from Monday, September 14. Face coverings will also be mandatory for staff and customers.

Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the group – which said it was supported by Scottish operators including The DRG, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers, Manorview Group, Caledonian Heritable and G1 – said: “We have been forced to act because our industry is facing an existential crisis.

“The vast majority of bars and restaurants in Scotland have been adhering religiously to every regulation that has been introduced because we realise the very future of our industry is at stake.

“The Scottish Government simply must not take a blanket approach if a few rogue licensees fail to do the right thing.

“All members of the SHG are united in calling on the Scottish Government to immediately shut down the operators of bars and restaurants who don’t adhere to the very highest standards of social distancing, PPE and other essential hygiene measures.

“Targeting the few bars and restaurants which are breaking the rules is the proper and proportionate way to proceed, particularly in light of the revised Scottish Government guidance limiting gatherings to six people from two households. Responsible bar and restaurant owners across Scotland are also essential to the effective use of the track and trace system. If you shut down restaurants and bars, you are massively increasing the risk of more house parties and irresponsible gatherings, where track and trace is almost impossible.”