Hospitality businesses hit by new Covid-19 restrictions “deserve better” and should have been consulted in advance of the SNP Scottish Government's announcement, Graham Simpson, Central Scotland MSP has said.
Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes across Scotland will be stopped from serving alcohol for 16 days from Friday evening – and will be permitted to operate only between 6am and 6pm.
In five health board regions across the Central Belt, licensed premises will close altogether for two weeks, with non-licensed premises operating restricted hours.
The First Minister said that funding would be made available but failed to provide any details of how much businesses can apply for, when they can apply or how long the money will take to reach them.
The Federation of Small Businesses said that the “bare minimum” they expected from the government was to provide details of the funding package that will be made available at the same time as the announcement of new restrictions.
Graham Simpson, Central Scotland MSP said:
“Scotland's hospitality sector has complied with everything that the Scottish Government has asked of them but many of these small businesses are now running on empty and all reserves are gone.
"A discussion about how to compensate businesses that might be affected by any new measures should have taken place weeks ago.
“Nicola Sturgeon has been warning of the potential of a second wave or possible regional lockdown measures for weeks.
“We know there were problems in businesses accessing support after the local lockdown in Aberdeen and we don't want to see those same problems replicated across the Central Belt.
“A one-day consultation after the SNP Scottish Government's announcement – and just hours before businesses were forced to close their doors - is just not good enough.
“Our local businesses deserve so much more from the SNP Scottish Government.