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SLTA: ‘Level 4 signals permanent closure for many’

Published:  18 November, 2020

Moving parts of west central Scotland into Level 4 “effectively signals permanent closure for many pubs and restaurants”, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has warned.

The warning follows First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement in the Scottish Parliament yesterday afternoon that Scotland's toughest Covid restrictions (Level 4) are to be introduced in 11 council areas, including Glasgow, this Friday.

In response to the announcement, the SLTA referred to the decision as the “worst possible news” for the licensed hospitality industry. 

“There will be many operators who will now be seriously considering if their businesses have a future at all – that’s how serious the situation is,” said MD Colin Wilkinson. 

“Many operators in Levels 2 and 3 areas have already taken the reluctant decision to close down their businesses as it is simply unviable to operate with the current restrictions on the sale of alcohol and the operating times that are currently in place,” he said.

Even hotels and restaurants serving food felt “defeated by these unnecessarily complex and ever-changing guidelines”, he added.

“Moving into Level 4 suggests that the closing of pubs and bars in October in five health board areas, prior to the introduction of the tier system, has done little to bring down the rate of Covid-19 infections. 

“And yet again, there has been no meaningful engagement with our industry and there has been no evidence to prove that the virus is being spread within the licensed hospitality sector,” he said. 

Wilkinson also took the opportunity to reiterate that the SLTA supported the goal of suppressing the virus. 

“Of course we do. But we also reiterate that we are a sector in crisis with hundreds of businesses facing permanent closure and thousands of jobs hanging in the balance. Sadly, for some, the damage is already irreparable.”

Following the announcement of the extension of the Job Retention (furlough) Scheme at the beginning of this month, the 
SLTA urged the industry not lose sight of the fact that direct support for businesses was still “woefully inadequate”.