Friday’s Covid briefing from the Scottish Government effectively shut down the hospitality industry without officially closing it.
It appears we have time-travelled back to the nightmarish days of early March 2020, when pubs were instructed to stay open, yet customers told to stay at home.
Once again, there is no financial support in place for the many cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels across the country now sure to lose significant business at a key time of year, as Christmas parties are cancelled or postponed following Nicola Sturgeon’s latest warnings.
There is no question that the Omicron coronavirus variant is greatly concerning and, as the first minister rightly said, swift action is key when it comes to Covid. Saving lives and protecting the NHS are as important today as they were at the beginning of the pandemic.
However, it is the job of government to find a speedy but sensible path through the woods for the rest of us to follow, with no one left behind.
The Scottish Government is not in tune with the needs of businesses
Ms Sturgeon emphasised that her government is reliant on Westminster to provide relief money. This will bring zero comfort or reassurance to business owners facing weeks of no-shows.
Feel desperately sorry for hospitality businesses right now. An avalanche of cancellations but without a law change,there’s no business continuity insurance and now compensation. And not just them,lots of other businesses get hit by the ripple of cancelled parties. 😔
— Cat Headley (@Cat_Headley) December 10, 2021
There is very real potential for a knock-on effect in other parts of our economy, too. Without festive social engagements to go to, will people still feel the need to attend hairdresser appointments or buy a new outfit? It is possible that yet more financial aid will be needed to keep further companies afloat.
Despite claiming to know the importance of supporting the economy, the Scottish Government does not appear to be in tune with the needs of businesses – even after witnessing close to two years of struggle and far too many closures.
The Voice of the North is The Press & Journal’s editorial stance on what we think is the most important story of the day