Scotland joined other devolved nations Wales and Northern Ireland in imposing strict new measures to combat the Omicron variant of Covid. These restrictions included the closure of nightclubs ahead of New Year’s Eve, as well as social distancing and the rule of six reintroduced for pubs and restaurants. Indoor hospitality and leisure venues have been reduced to table service where alcohol is served.
However, hospitality businesses across Scotland have vented their fury at Nicola Sturgeon, claiming they have “had the nightmare before Christmas, during and after”.
Scottish club owner Donald Macleod MBE said businesses in Scotland “have been promised a lot of Government help but they have not materialised in hard cash”.
He said the timing of restrictions happened at the most important time of the year for many businesses”.
Mr Macleod added: “It’s absolutely abhorrent. They know nothing about businesses. They don’t even seem to care.”
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The restrictions have been introduced throughout the hospitality sector for three weeks from 27 December.
Speaking to talkRADIO, Mr Macleod said: “I am very envious of England. We’ve had the nightmare before Christmas, during and after.
“The Christmas Grinch John Swinney and Nicola Sturgeon stopped us from trading.
“We have had 100 percent loss. This started happening a week before Christmas.”
This comes as Ms Sturgeon warned Covid cases are likely to increase further as figures indicate virus levels in Scotland remain at record levels.
A total of 9,360 people tested positive for coronavirus in the last 24 hours, according to the Scottish government.
England remains the only part of Britain where revellers will be able to celebrate New Year’s Eve without restrictions after Boris Johnson decided to resist bringing in fresh restrictions.
Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, told Sky News there has already been a significant difference in trading levels in English venues compared to those in Scotland and Wales.
She warned that imposing the rule of six and table-only service can see firms lose up to 70 percent of their regular takings.