Industry proposes small changes to Scotland’s lockdown rules to save 60,000 jobs

Leaders of the UK’s major hospitality trade bodies have proposed a new route out of lockdown for Scotland which could save over 60,000 jobs.

Under a ‘Level 3’ lockdown in Scotland, pubs can open, but can’t sell alcohol

In a set of proposals submitted to the government, which were seen by the drinks business yesterday, the SHG, UK Hospitality Scotland, SLTA, NTIA and the Scottish Beer & Pub Association have set out a set of small changes to Scotland’s lockdown lift that they say will avoid catastrophic business failure across the sector.

By suggesting a few tweaks to the level system being used by Scotland as a route out of lockdown, the trade bodies say that more than 60,000 jobs could be saved, while contributing more than £1.2bn to the economy in the short term.

In particular, the hospitality groups have urged the Government to mirror the reopening plans for England as closely as possible, with the stripping away of additional restrictions such as a curfew and the service of alcohol only with a meal.

Under the current ‘Strategic Framework’ for Scotland, a ‘Level 3’ lockdown in Scotland allows restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars to open only for the consumption of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Not only are alcoholic drinks banned, but last entry is 5pm and all venues must be closed and with customers off the premises by 6pm.

Proposals from the trade bodies suggest allowing venues to serve alcohol, but only with a meal, while extending the last entry to 8.30pm, with closing time two-hours later at 10.30.

Research commissioned by the groups from economic consultancy, BiGGAR Economics, has shown that under the current Level 3 restrictions, 54% of hospitality businesses could be operating, which generates a turnover of £269 million and supports 21,900 jobs.

If Government were to open with a proposed altered Level 3 – outlined below – 73% of businesses could be operating, generating a turnover of £927 million and supporting 53,300 jobs.

Graeme Blackett, director of BiGGAR Economics, explained, “This study highlights the severe negative economic impact that the COVID-19 lockdown has had on the hospitality sector, the businesses and people who work in the sector itself, and in the supply chain.”

He added, “It also demonstrates that the changes to the restrictions in the level system that the hospitality sector has proposed, can place the hospitality sector and the wider food and drink supply chain in a much stronger position.”

Continuing, he said, “Adjustments to the restrictions could get thousands of people back to work and allow the sector to generate turnover and contribute significantly to the public finances in the coming weeks and months”

The BiGGAR Economics’ study also found that under the newly proposed Level 2 changes, 91% of businesses could be operating, which would generate a turnover of £1.2 billion and support 68,000 jobs.

This is compared to current Level 2 restrictions in which only 73% of business could operate, generating a turnover of £634 million and supporting only 34,900 jobs.

Protection level 3 in Scotland: what it means for hospitality under the current rules

  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars can open indoors and outdoors for the consumption of food and non alcoholic drinks. Alcoholic drinks cannot be served. Last entry is 17:00 and all venues must be closed and all customers off the premises by 18:00.
  • The maximum number of people you can meet indoors and outdoors in a restaurant, café, pub or bar is 6 which can be from up to 2 separate households.

Proposed protection level 3: what it could mean for hospitality if the trade’s proposals were adopted

Indoors:

  • Alcohol only with a meal
  • Last entry at 8.30pm
  • Two-hour time slots
  • Closing at 10.30
  • Seated consumption only
  • No queuing

Outdoors

  • Alcohol permitted
  • Last entry at 9.30
  • Closing at 11.30
  • Seated consumption only
  • No queuing

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