Hoteliers plead for change to restrictions

Letter to the first minister warns of “further losses across the country”

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THE owners and operators of more than 100 Scottish hotels have written to first minister Nicola Sturgeon to call for immediate changes to the COVID-19 restrictions introduced on Friday.

A letter written by Jill Chalmers, managing director of Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire and signed by hoteliers from across Scotland, says that the licensing changes implemented on Friday October 9 – which have banned the sale of alcohol indoors and state that venues can only open their indoor spaces between 6am and 6pm – will lead to “more job losses in the coming month”.

“Not being able to sell alcohol in public areas to hotel residents in Scotland negatively impacts their stay and future guests are already starting to cancel their bookings,” wrote Chalmers.

“This measure in particular is threatening the small thread of revenue – a lifeline for many – which still exists for hotel businesses in Scotland at this difficult time.

“We urge you to reconsider this and allow hotel guests, staying a minimum of one night, to consume alcohol in all settings, not simply room service alone.”

The letter continues that if there are no changes to the current restrictions there will be further losses across the industry.

“We are talking about trying to survive, not about profitability. Without this small change in your policy, there will be thousands more job losses in the coming month.”

It also points out the contrasting rules between the ban on alcohol sales in public areas, while guests at pre-booked weddings can be sold alcohol.

The letter ends by stating that the hospitality industry “is part of the solution to COVID-19’s negative economic effects and not the problem”.

Signatories include the owners of The Torridon Hotel, Airds Hotel and Prestonfield House.