By Gillian McKenzie
JUST when the trade thought it couldn’t get any worse, it did.
All bars and restaurants required to close at 10pm was the latest blow dealt to our already beleaguered industry by first minister Nicola Sturgeon last week.
It came after a “leaked” Scottish Government document prompted much speculation Sturgeon would order a two-week, so-called ‘circuit breaker’, closure period – a measure she made clear she has not ruled out. The 10pm terminal hour, which came into force last Friday (September 25) is, she said, “seeking to find a balance between action to suppress the virus and the protection of people’s jobs and livelihoods”.
But for bars and restaurants struggling to stay afloat operating at vastly reduced capacities, it’s another devastating blow.
And what impact does the Scottish Government think it will have?
Operators have gone above and beyond to make premises as safe as possible and comply with a raft of ever-changing guidance and regulation; they’re taking customer details for Test & Protect, taking bookings in line with the households rule, they’ve turned background music off. Surely closing premises with such stringent safety measure in place early will only encourage more people to socialise in houses where there are no such measures in place.
Once again, though, it seems the trade has been thrown under the bus.
Snatching precious hours away from an industry that’s already fighting for survival could be a fatal blow for many.