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Scotland's 16 day pub shut down not backed by evidence, Inverness landlord warns


By Calum MacLeod

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Closing Scotland's pubs for 16 days will do little to halt Covid transmission, a city landlord has warned.
Closing Scotland's pubs for 16 days will do little to halt Covid transmission, a city landlord has warned.

Shutting down Scotland's hospitality business for 16 days will only threaten jobs and livelihoods in the sector and do nothing tp slow the halt of Covid-19, a city landlord has warned.

Gavin Stevenson, director at Mor-Rioghain Group, landlord of Inverness's oldest pub The Gellions and member of the Inverness Hospitality Alliance, said that the Scottish Government decision to shut hospitality businesses in Scotland for 16 days from this weekend is simply not supported by the evidence.

Mr Stevenson believes the Scottish Government has failed to prove any causal links between visits to hospitality and infections and referenced a Public Health England report that only around three per cent of Covid outbreaks are in a hospitality setting, while the vast majority are in Care Homes and Education.

He also warned that recent surveys of hospitality groups in Scotland reported only tiny numbers of confirmed cases in either staff or customers, while previous Scottish Government restrictions, such as the music ban, household limits and 10pm curfew, have not only failed to limit the increase in virus cases, but have increased socialising in uncontrolled and unsafe environments and have let most hospitality premises trading at a fraction of the turnover needed to survive.

The Gellions, High Street, Inverness.
The Gellions, High Street, Inverness.

Mr Stevenson said: “This news is devastating for the sector.Over 100,000 Scottish jobs and thousands of small Scottish businesses are now at imminent risk without urgent additional government support and we await details of those proposals.

"However it is now clear that the previous additional restrictions Scottish hospitality businesses have suffered over their English counterparts has failed to make any meaningful difference to transmission rates between the two nations.

“Hospitality businesses have invested many thousands of pounds each in creating Covid-safe premises, training staff on control measures, and ensuring customers abide by ever-increasing restrictions that also mean many businesses can no longer trade viably.However we are now told that these previous sacrifices have been in vain.

"This new closure of premises is an admission of failure in the management of the pandemic by a government that is rapidly losing the confidence of small business owners, their employees and customers.”

The Inverness Hospitality Alliance is now calling for a crisis summit between hospitality businesses and the Scottish Government .



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