Night Time Industries Association Scotland expresses disappointment at First Minister's decision to extend anti-Covid restrictions
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A national hospitality trade group has called First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's decision to extend restrictions on the sector disappointing and called for more support to help struggling businesses.
Night Time Industries Association Scotland, whose vice-chairman is Inverness publican Gavin Stevenson, landlord of the historic Gellions public house, is also urging the Scottish Government to reconsider proposals to extend the vaccine passport scheme.
An association spokesperson said: "Whilst overall the ending of the current restrictions on the hospitality and late night economy sectors from 24th January is welcome, it is nevertheless disappointing that the First Minister has felt the need to extend the period of restrictions beyond the original date of January 17, despite the emerging data showing a positive downward trend in hospitalisation and serious health outcomes.
"It is also very worrying that she has also suggested an extension of the vaccine passport scheme to additional settings.
"As recent data from the four nations has demonstrated, and as the National Clinical Director has already admitted, additional restrictions in Scotland have had little impact on case rates but have had a serious impact on Scottish businesses and jobs."
Night Time Industries Association Scotland also has concerns that the majority of support funding already announced has gone to other sectors.
"The funding already committed by Scottish Government to enable businesses to retain and pay staff wages over the festive period must now be expedited at speed as the ability of employers to fund payroll from their existing cashflow is seriously at risk, along with the jobs supported by these businesses," the spokesperson continued.
"Furthermore, we call on Scottish Government to now urgently release all remaining unallocated funding to compensate Scottish nightlife and hospitality businesses for the disproportionate restrictions currently in place, and commit to a full reopening without any further restrictions."