New draft hospitality guidance has been published by the Scottish Government for businesses reopening on the 26th.
It came after hospitality groups expressed dismay at the lack of guidance for the industry to the Scottish Affairs Committee last week.
From Monday 26th April, alcohol will be allowed to be served outside and indoor cafes and restaurants can open indoors at limited capacity until 8pm. Outdoors, six people from six households can sit together. Indoors, six people from two households can sit together. Fifty people will also be able to attend wedding receptions and funeral wakes.
The new restrictions mean that 1m social distancing will apply at tables and not just between them. This means that a table of 6 people would have to be around 3.5m long, according to restaurant owners.
The guidance, which was issued at 6pm on Friday night, has not gone down well with hospitality businesses across Scotland.
Celebrity chef, Nick Nairn, said the regulations were potentially a ‘fatal blow to many in our beleaguered industry’.
Carina Contini, a restaurateur from Edinburgh, said the rules were impractical and are ‘absolutely going to be crippling for the sector’.
Similarly, guidance for wedding operators says that there can be no live music, confetti should not be thrown, and speeches should be made outside.
It is hoped that the guidance will be changed prior to reopening. The First Minister is expected to confirm the partial reopening of the economy on Tuesday 20th April.
John Lamont MP said:
“After delivering good news that our hospitality businesses can reopen again, the Scottish Government snuck out guidance at 6pm on Friday night that will make many Borders cafes and restaurants unviable.
“At last week’s Scottish Affairs Committee, representatives from the hospitality industry told me of the huge difficulties facing the sector. This new guidance has not helped alleviate their concerns.
“I really hope that the Scottish Government reach out to businesses and change this guidance quickly. Businesses only have a few more days to plan, train staff, and alter their premises to suit.
“Obviously, the guidance and regulations need to ensure the safety of customers and staff and stop the spread of coronavirus. But if the government is going to impose such stringent measures, I strongly suspect a number of businesses will not be able to reopen profitably.”