By Marc Crothall
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:
“Clarity on restrictions for hospitality businesses, as announced in parliament by the First Minister will without a shadow of a doubt create a wave of trauma and mental anguish across the sector with many hundreds of businesses who will fall into tier 3 or 4 now likely to stay closed beyond Christmas, or indeed permanently. Employees full and part time who had hoped to return to work are now put at even greater risk unemployment. Average fixed costs for business far outweigh the levels of grant support advised and for many in the sector it remains unclear if they will qualify for any support at all. The gap between the funding that is available and the costs of overheads and maintaining staff levels has become too great and I would expect imminent announcements of redundancies on a worrying scale, particularly for any businesses placed in Tier 3 or 4.
The financial and mental strain experienced by business owners in our sector, many of whom I have conversations on a daily basis with is exacerbated by what is an extremely short timescale for implementing these measures; it is absolutely critical at this stage that more detailed information comes from the Scottish Government. Businesses have just days to make decisions on staffing levels, the procurement of stock and indeed in relation to whether or not it is viable to continue to trade at all.
Without a robust package of support, our hospitality and tourism sectors are facing the bleakest of winters with very little hope of recovery beyond the beginning of 2021. The current and predicted impact on the mental health of those within our sector is now becoming one of the biggest issues and challenges we are all facing as we look to the weeks ahead, as is the economic impact on our communities.
Scottish and U.K. Govts must as a priority, step up to the plate together as they have rightly done so to protect the NHS and the lives of those affected by Covid; however it must be an equal priority to also seek to protect the lives and livelihoods of thousands more who work right across the tourism and hospitality sectors and our supply chains.”