Scotland celebrates reprieve for pubs, bars and restaurants

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Reprieve for pubs, bars and restaurants
REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The announcement that the Covid-19 passport scheme will not be expanded to encompass the wider licensed hospitality sector has been met with a great deal of relief by the industry.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association also welcomed the news that customers will be allowed to present a negative test rather than proof of two vaccines to enter venues that are already covered by the scheme from December 6.

“Indications were that a widening of the vaccine certification scheme to pubs, bars, restaurants would be brought in, forcing many premises into closure,” said SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson.

“A recent joint industry survey found that, for those businesses currently enforcing the policy, 95 per cent have been negatively impacted and 87 per cent had seen trade reduced by over 20 per cent, with some reporting falls in trade of as much as 60 per cent since the introduction of the Covid passport scheme.

“This reprieve will be a great relief to the many businesses that feared a similar negative impact would be mirrored in the wider licensed hospitality sector, particularly at this crucial time of the year for the industry.

“The Scottish Licensed Trade Association welcomes the decision by the Scottish Government who have listened to the industry’s concerns. However, it must not be forgotten that Covid passport restrictions remain in place for the late-night industry and the nightclub sectors which have had a devastating impact on their business viability.

“The additional option now of allowing lateral flow tests, from December 6, as an alternative to a requirement to produce a Covid Passport to gain entry to such premises is also very much welcomed.

“The Scottish Government needs to re-evaluate whether the remaining restrictions on this sub-sector are justified and proportionate and for support funding to be put in place for those business currently enforcing the policy.”