Vaccine passports could be ‘death knell’ for hospitality

Trade groups issue joint statement saying the scheme ‘would have a devastating impact’ on the wider hospitality sector

VACCINE passports could be the “death knell” for Scotland’s hospitality sector if the scheme is extended to wider hospitality settings, trade groups have said.

In a joint statement the Night Time Industries Association, Scottish Beer & Pub Association, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Hospitality Group and UK Hospitality said if the scheme – which was introduced for nightclubs at the beginning of October – is rolled out to wider hospitality settings over three quarters of hospitality businesses (76.2%) would not survive the winter without further support.

The prediction was based on a survey of 150 business owners and operators across Scotland.

The survey also found that: 95.2% of businesses already impacted by the policy said that trade has been negatively impacted; and 87.2% have seen trade reduce by over 20%.

In the statement the groups said: “From this survey it is clear to see that Scotland’s hospitality sector is in a precarious situation, making the recovery period all the more important.

“Four out of Five (83.6%) businesses are significantly below pre-pandemic levels and with inflation, debt levels and other costs rising, the sector is facing a very difficult winter ahead.

“The survey also shows that COVID certification has a hugely negative impact on businesses already caught by the policy and any extension will have a devastating impact on the wider hospitality sector.”

The groups added that, with 95% of business owners polled stating they would have to cut staff hours if the scheme was applied to their premises, the extension “would be a devastating blow for the sector’s 100,000 workers just in the run-up to Christmas”.

“The Scottish Government must take this into consideration when making the decision on any extension of the COVID certification and provide the economic support to keep thousands of businesses afloat,” they said.