In the midst of questions about hundreds of Airbnb bookings in Edinburgh on New Year’s Eve, Scots were advised to stay home for Hogmanay.
The City of Edinburgh Council chief has called for “cancelled immediately.” of all Airbnb or other short-term rental or hotel accommodation bookings that do not comply with public health laws.
Nicola Sturgeon cautioned individuals not to party on Hogmanay with other households indoors, and she indicated that tighter restrictions may be required.
The First Minister cautioned that the latest strain of Covid-19 meant that it was important that Scots “do not visit other people’s homes.”
That is the most important thing of all, she said, and sadly that applies to Hogmanay and New Year’s Eve.
“I know we’re all desperate this year to tackle 2020, but we need to do it in a safe way, and the safest way to do that this year is to be in our own homes with our own households.”
On Christmas Day, the rules were relaxed, allowing individuals to meet with two other households – however travel between Scotland and other parts of the UK was prohibited.
Originally, from Dec. 23 to Dec. 27, the relaxation was to last five days, but was rolled back in light of the increasing number of cases and concerns about the virus’ transmissible strain.
In answer, Level 4, the strictest possible, was put on the Scottish mainland, while Level 3 was placed on island communities.
Despite the warnings, for New Year’s Eve in Edinburgh, which is popular for its Hogmanay celebrations, the accommodation platform Airbnb has more than 300 bookings open.
The business, which prohibited bookings from being provided by hosts during the first closure in March, said it was keeping pace with the rest of the accommodation industry – noting the numerous exceptions to the Stage 4 restriction rules.
Unless they have a good reason to do so, such as required jobs, childcare and medical appointments, no one can fly to Edinburgh.
“Sarah Boyack, Labour MSP for the Lothians, said, “This is alarming considering the extreme constraints we are all living under. Just one of the commercials states that it is only for ‘important travel’ and some properties are rooms in the homes of individuals.
The guidelines are clear that “The guidelines are clear that ‘all vacation accommodation is closed to tourism’ and that hotels, B&Bs and self-catering can only stay open for essential customers.” and that only essential customers can remain available to hotels, B&Bs and self-catering.
“This New Year will be tough in Edinburgh as we will have no visitors and there will be no cafes, restaurants or tourist attractions to visit.”
Edinburgh’s Hogmanay festivities this year will be practically televised, with individuals encouraged to stay at home and follow the laws of public health.
Adam McVey, leader of Edinburgh City Council, said, “Our message is clear: people should not visit while hotels are closed and the capital is under Level 4 restrictions. Any last-minute bookings not related to essential public health should be cancelled immediately.”
Our 2020 Hogmanay end of year celebrations are specifically planned to avoid crowds, there are no activities to attend, and we encourage people to enjoy the shows created through their TV screens from the comfort of their own homes.
“I’m grateful to the people of Edinburgh for complying – we’re seeing visitor numbers increase significantly, so it’s hugely important that we continue to do so.”
“A Scottish Greens spokesperson said, “We are obviously seeing a rise in cases of Covid and a crucial effort to avoid the pandemic from getting fully out of control is the level four restrictions and travel ban in Scotland. The Scottish Greens support a proactive approach focused on public health advice.
The fact that owners of short-term rentals are permitted to advertise as normal at this time is therefore highly worrying. When the First Minister advises people to live in their near family bubbles and not fly, it is reckless to draw tourists to Edinburgh.
In Edinburgh, several hotels are still taking reservations, including for recreational purposes.
Throughout the booking process, individuals currently attempting to book accommodation on Airbnb anywhere in the United Kingdom must confirm that they are d