Scotland on high alert: is London next?

Published 8 October 2020

by Lisa Markwell

Confusion and infuriation are the latest updates on the pandemic and how it affects the hospitality industry. Yesterday Scotland’s indoor bars and restaurants were ordered to only operate between 6am and 6pm – and to stop selling alcohol altogether – for 16 days from Friday in an attempt to control the resurgent spread of Covid-19. This, of course, makes it nigh-on impossible for venues to open – and certainly to make any revenue. 

“To say this is a massive blow for hospitality in Scotland is an understatement,” Lee MacGreggor, director of Mitchell MacGreggor Public Relations tells CODE. “The industry has been operating in a state of uncertainty for months. My clients work harder than they’ve ever done, making sure they are Covid-compliant, dealing with finances and supplier issues, all whilst trying to give guests the best experience they can. The pressure is immense. We can only hope that circuit-break means exactly that, and the restrictions, including the curfew, are lifted after the 16 days are up.”

But as we know from data CODE has previously shared via Public Health England, instances of confirmed cases originating in hospitality venues are well below 10% – so why is the industry taking such a large share of burden? 

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan – following a briefing attended by CODE’s founder Adam Hyman among others from the hospitality sector – has called for an urgent review, calling the current restrictions “counter-productive”. The lack of comprehensive scientific evidence and the fact that there was no economic impact assessment are now coupled by a rising infection rate despite the curfew, which suggests it is not the solution the government was hoping for with its hasty enforcement. 

At the risk of sounding like a broken record – please can those responsible for the safety and wellbeing of us all put the health of workers, the general public and the survival of our proud industry as equal priorities.

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