“The “bitterly disappointed” licensed trade” by new restrictions

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Bulletin of Industry

Disappointment has been expressed by the Scottish Approved Trade Association after it was reported that from Friday Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and East Lothian will switch to the third tier, joining the 18 local authorities that currently remain at that level.

“We are bitterly disappointed as we had not given up hope that a relaxation of Covid 19 restrictions on the licensed pub trade at this stage would have given businesses a fighting chance to trade more profitably in the final week before Christmas,” said Colin Wilkinson, chief executive of SLTA.

“Even a further relaxation of the rules to allow pubs and restaurants to trade later in all tiers and to allow alcohol with a main meal and give the option of two sittings in the evening would have helped these businesses enormously in a key trading period.”

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He said, “The bigger issue, however, is the uncertainty that has prevailed for a number of months – it is grossly unfair to businesses to expect them to turn on and off like a tap. It’s not just a matter of opening the doors – businesses need to order supplies and organize staffing plans. Many have already made the decision to stay closed until 2021 because of this uncertainty.”

Again, Mr. Wilkinson cautioned that many of the pubs, bars and restaurants in Scotland are still at risk of permanent closure and that the risk of job cuts still hangs over the heads of those working in “an industry in crisis” even with the new holiday scheme in place.

He said, “We said last week that while our industry will continue to do everything it can to quench the virus, if the sector and the individuals it employs are to be around after spring 2021 and be part of Scotland’s economic recovery, it needs financial support at realistic levels.”

“We remain committed to working with the Scottish Government to find solutions that will allow our sector to continue to operate.”

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