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Scotland announces temporary closures for hospitality sector

On Wednesday 7 October, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced the forced closure of all licensed premises (with the exception of hotels) across central Scotland, including Glasgow and Edinburgh, as part of a new 16-day lockdown aimed at tackling a surge in coronavirus cases in these areas of the country.

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Update as of 21/01/2020:
Nicola Sturgeon has today announced that the two-week COVID-19 lockdown in Scotland will be extended, meaning bars and restaurants in the country's central belt will remain closed for another week.

The restrictions were due to expire on 26 October, however Scotland is moving to a five-tier system of virus alert levels from 2 November and Sturgeon has said they will stay in place until the new framework comes into force. 

The new five-tier system will involve different levels of restrictions, similar to that of England's that can be applied nationally or regionally, depending on the level of infection in that region. It will include two extra levels to England's alert system however, with an extra tier at the bottom that will be the closest to normality we can expect to live until a vaccine is produced and another tier at the top with even tighter restrictions than Englands 'Very High' alert level. 

The new system is due to be published on Friday 23 October, along with details of financial support for businesses hit by enforced closures.

Scotland two-week lockdown 

The new rules are set to come into force from 18:00 on Friday 9 October until 25 October and will apply to about 3.4 million people living in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran health board areas.

Pubs and restaurants in other parts of Scotland are allowed to remain open, however tough new operating restrictions have been announced for these venues, which will also come into force from Friday for the next 16 days.
The new nationwide rules (excluding the central belt areas) are as follows:

  • Pubs, bars, restaurants, and cafes will be allowed to operate indoors between 6am and 6pm, for the service of food only, with no sale of alcohol beverages allowed
  • Hotel restaurants will be able to operate beyond 6pm but only for residents and without alcohol
  • Licensed hospitality venues may remain open outdoors and serving alcohol until the existing curfew of 10pm
  • Current meeting regulations, including the rule of six will continue to apply
  • Current measures for specific life events, such as weddings and funerals will remain in place

During the statement, Sturgeon also announced that the Scottish Government will provide an additional £40 million to support businesses that will be affected by the new measures over the next two weeks.

However, the new rules come as a huge disappointment and raise major concerns for operators within the already crippled sector. The impact and economic costs are predicted to be catastrophic, with many operators fearing they will be unable to reopen in lockdown areas if the forced closure is extended.

Brian Sheldon, Christie & Co’s Regional Hospitality Director in Scotland comments, “The reaction by many operators to these further restrictions is one of anger. Only a few weeks ago the 10pm curfew was introduced with no scientific evidence detailing why, and the feeling remains the same with the additional restrictions. Positively, £40M has been made available to assist those businesses effected however as of yet, there is no detail on how this will be allocated. There has been much speculation that we could see 25,000 job losses and nearly 2/3 of the circa 2800 pubs and bars in Scotland will not reopen; we hope this will not be the case!”

We will be monitoring closely for further updates and encourage operators to visit the following key trade websites for further information.

British Institute of Innkeeping (BII):
We share the concerns of the sector. Please get in touch if we can be of any support to your business at this time.

Brian Sheldon
Regional Hospitality Director - Scotland 



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