Calls for urgent support as restrictions hammer hospitality businesses

Majority of businesses trading at a loss or unviable under levels three and four, survey shows

Growing number of businesses across Scotland go into hibernation as travel restrictions kick in


URGENT support that goes “way beyond what is currently on offer” is needed for hospitality businesses as new figures show most pub and hospitality businesses will trade at a loss or be unviable under level three and four coronavirus restrictions.

According to a joint survey by trade groups UK Hospitality Scotland, the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) and the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), around 95% of businesses estimate they would be operating at a loss or unviable in levels three and four. The survey showed almost two thirds of businesses (61%) would trade at a loss or be unviable under level two restrictions, with 33% in that tier reaching break-even. Under level one restrictions, 30% of businesses said they would be operating at a loss or unviable, with 28% reaching break-even.

From 6pm tomorrow (Friday November 20), 11 council areas in west central Scotland – Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling, and West Lothian – will be moved into level four until December 11, meaning all hospitality businesses in those areas will have to close for three weeks. Nine council areas – City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Fife, Perth & Kinross and Angus – will remain under level three restrictions. East Lothian and Midlothian will move from level three to two from Tuesday November 24; and Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, and Argyll & Bute will all remain at level two. Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Moray and Highland are to remain at level one.

Travel restrictions also become law from 6pm tomorrow (Friday November 20), making it illegal for anyone in level three or four areas to travel outside of their council area, other than for essential purposes.

It comes as a growing number of hospitality businesses across Scotland, including Gleneagles in Perthshire, the Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, The Three Chimneys on the Isle of Skye and The Pierhouse Hotel in Port Appin, Argyll go into hibernation until next year.

The trade groups are calling on the Scottish Government to rethink the restrictions and have reiterated the need for “urgent need for enhanced financial support to get through this critical period”. 

“Hospitality businesses in Scotland, like those in the rest of the UK, have had a terrible year,” said the groups in a joint statement.

“Those that are still operating have survived a crisis against almost impossible odds.

For those in the more restrictive levels, those odds now look insurmountable. This is despite the fact that cases linked to hospitality are tiny, and businesses have worked extremely hard to make venues safe.

“The Scottish Government must rethink the restrictions being placed on the sector, otherwise this will be fatal for many vital businesses. This must go hand-in-hand with enhanced financial support that goes way beyond what is currently on offer.”