Following the confirmation of the First Minister's latest update that Scotland will move to Level 0 on the 19th July, Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chamber of Commerce, said:
“The confirmation that Scotland will move to Level 0 on 19th July marks another encouraging milestone towards the full re-opening of Scotland’s economy and business’s ability to recover.
“The fact remains though that the modified framework deviates away from what businesses had been preparing for and moving the goalposts at this late stage will cause uncertainty, negatively impacting on business confidence and recovery.
“The postponing of the phased return of offices will be a bitter blow for employees and employers alike, many of which had been getting ready to welcome employees back into offices from next week. This will also sound alarm bells for those town and city centre businesses, reliant on office worker footfall and custom, who now need to wait another month until those workers start to return.
“Scotland’s hospitality sector, one of the hardest hit by restrictions, will be concerned that anticipated restrictions were not lifted, including little reprieve for the night-time economy, with challenging restrictions on trading remaining.”
On changes to rules for self-isolation and quarantine, Liz Cameron said:
“A greater four-nations alignment on international travel restrictions and self-isolation is positive, however, until all restrictions are lifted many businesses operating in Scotland’s travel and tourism sector simply won’t be able to open.
“The international travel industry is vital to Scotland’s wider tourism and hospitality sectors, and it’s essential that financial support for these businesses is not only continued but enhanced to allow them to fully recover when restrictions do finally lift.”
On moving beyond Level 0, Liz Cameron said:
“Our view is clear that we should continue on the path set out towards the lifting of all restrictions on the 9th of August as planned.
“The role of the Scottish and UK Government must evolve to enable businesses and communities to operate with autonomy, according to personal circumstances, business preferences and sectoral requirements.”
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce is at the heart of Scotland’s largest and most influential business to business network.