On the announcement by the Scottish Government that current restrictions on the hospitality sector will be extended for at least another week, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said:
“Businesses in the hospitality sector and across the supply chain will be absolutely devastated that restrictions now look to be in place indefinitely. We were advised that temporary restrictions would help to reduce spread of the virus. But now the temporary restrictions have been extended which make it impossible for businesses to rebuild and protect jobs.
“This short term, reactive approach is no longer enough. Where is the plan that we can all get alongside to help Scottish Government to both manage the virus and ensure the economy can also return to health?
“A new, tiered system of restrictions is set to be introduced this week. However, along with this there must be a clear way out of higher tiered restriction levels, backed by data and in consultation with businesses. We need to be in those discussions now. The extension of the funding package will be essential and should be tied to every stage as a matter of course rather than a lagging afterthought.
“Governments need to focus on ramping up their test, track and trace programs. We have been living with this virus for seven months now. We should be able to deliver the capacity to provide test and protect in every business premises and in every airport in Scotland.
“The data shows that virus spread is reduced in the safe and controlled environments where employers have invested heavily to ensure they operate safely for the benefit of staff and customers. Managing this virus is also about encouraging safe behaviour of people whether they are on their lunch breaks or when they are outside of the work environment. That’s why every effort must be made to ensure guidance is as clear, easy to manage and follow as is possible with every restriction based on the most up to date data.”