Further COVID-19 measures must be accompanied by further support

Warning comes ahead of expected announcement of more coronavirus restrictions tomorrow

THE Scottish Government must provide further support for hospitality businesses if it is to implement further COVID-19 restrictions, say trade groups.

First minister Nicola Sturgeon hinted earlier today (October 6) that further measures to tackle the spread of the coronavirus will be announced in the Scottish Parliament tomorrow. Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was “not proposing another lockdown at this stage” but has been “considering what additional targeted steps we can take over the next couple of weeks” to tackle the spread of the virus.

The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has called for further grant funding in the event of further restrictions on the industry, with the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) calling on first minister Nicola Sturgeon to outline a new package of support at the same time as any new COVID-19 measures.

The FSB’s Andrew McRae said speculation over a new lockdown “has harmed fragile business confidence and put new emotional strain on those that work for themselves”. “Ministers need the support of firms to tackle this crisis – action is required to rebuild trust between government and business,” said McRae.

SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said businesses should receive grant funding “to ensure we can keep trading” and warned that young people would be the ones bearing the brunt of any further government measures.

This was echoed by SHG member Nic Wood, of Signature Pubs, who said: “Not only does a bar or restaurant job provide much-needed money for young Scots, it gives them the people skills and experience that are vital in building their careers.

“It will be heartbreaking if we are forced to make redundancies because the government has shut us down again.

“Young people in Scotland will once again bear a disproportionate amount of the burden and coming on top of all the issues that students and young people are facing already, this will be a step too far.”