Scottish Government must provide clarity for hospitality

First minister confirms framework will be revised prior to parliament debate tomorrow


IT is essential that the Scottish Government is “crystal clear” with hospitality businesses on the implementation of any new COVID measures, say trade groups.

With the Scottish Parliament due to debate the Scottish Government’s new ‘strategic framework’ for COVID restrictions tomorrow (October 27), hospitality groups said it is essential that businesses are given clarity on what will be required of them in the different COVID ‘levels’ in the system.

It comes as first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will be tweaking the framework prior to the parliamentary debate, with a view to publicising later in the week which ‘level’ each part of Scotland will be placed in when the new system goes live on November 2.

Scottish Licensed Trade Association managing director, Colin Wilkinson, said in recent months the industry has had to contend with “a raft of ambiguous rules and regulations that are both confusing and difficult to put in place because of the short notice and lack of detail available at the time of implementation”.

“We are obviously very keen to work with the Scottish Government to reach solutions that can manage the pandemic while having minimum impact on the hospitality industry and the wider economy,” said Wilkinson.

“That is why it is absolutely crucial that these new guidelines are crystal clear, concise and unambiguous – there must be no room for error.”

Willie Macleod, executive director for Scotland at UK Hospitality, said any future Scottish Government action “needs to be proportionate and we would like to see more areas and their businesses in lower levels of the framework”.

“Additionally, businesses are now dealing with a change in restrictions and associated disruption that comes with it,” said Macleod.

“We need clarity on the levels in the alert system and a clear route map for businesses on how they move into a lower level.”

And Stephen Montgomery of the Scottish Hospitality Group said Scottish Government ministers “need to sit down and work with businesses before it is too late and save an industry that is the third biggest employer in the country”.