Financial support for hospitality businesses across Scotland must be “expanded swiftly” as takeaway offerings are limited under strengthened lockdown measures.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has imposed new restrictions on businesses across Scotland as cases of Covid-19 continue to rise. There have so far been more than 155,000 cases of Covid-19 in Scotland, which increased by 1,949 cases yesterday (13 January).
In response to the rising case numbers, lawmakers in Scotland have tightened restrictions surrounding click and collect and takeaway offerings.
From Saturday (16 January), non-essential click-and-collect services will be prohibited in level four areas.
Businesses providing takeaway food and drinks will also operate on a ‘non-entry’ basis, meaning customers cannot enter the premises when placing or collecting orders. Instead, customers will be required to collect their orders from a hatch or doorway.
Restrictions banning the consumption of alcohol in public places will also be introduced.
In a statement to parliament, Sturgeon said: “We intend to change the rules around consumption of alcohol. At the moment, different parts of Scotland have different laws in relation to the consumption of alcohol in outdoor public places.
“However, from Saturday, it will be against the law in all level four areas of Scotland to drink alcohol outdoors in public. This will mean, for example, that buying a takeaway pint and drinking it outdoors will not be permitted.”
Following the announcement, trade group UK Hospitality said the new restrictions meant it was “even more important” that hospitality businesses were supported financially.
UK Hospitality Scotland executive director, Willie Macleod, said: “Only this week we warned about the need for further support to secure the future of the hospitality sector in Scotland. It is now even more important that financial support be expanded swiftly in order to save as many businesses and jobs as possible.
“Before this tightening of restrictions, there was precious little way for a business in the hospitality sector to generate any revenue. One of the few avenues open to them has now been squeezed. An expansion of support has to come quickly if we expect hospitality to be in any sort of shape to aid the country’s economic recovery after the crisis.
“An extension of the VAT [value added tax] cut and the business rates holiday are now a must. This has to be confirmed as a bare minimum as soon as possible.”