Tourism and hospitality groups plea for half-hour talks with Nicola Sturgeon over Covid restrictions

Tourism and hospitality bodies are calling for urgent talks with Nicola Sturgeon on Glasgow remaining in level three coronavirus restrictions.

The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) and UKHospitality want a half-hour call with the First Minister, warning Friday’s decision not to move Glasgow to level two restrictions on Monday, as previously planned, has “has thrown a significant part of our industry and indeed the supply chain back into crisis mode”.

Ms Sturgeon announced on Friday afternoon that virus outbreaks in Glasgow and Moray mean they would remain at level three, with a review in a week, while the rest of mainland Scotland moved into level two on Monday and many island areas dropped to level one.

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Patrons are served in The Huxley in Edinburgh in line with parts of the country moving into level two restrictions, while Glasgow remains in level three. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

She also announced a ban on travel in and out of Glasgow or Moray council areas.

In level three, hospitality premises can only serve alcohol outdoors and meals indoors must stop at 8pm.

In a joint letter to Ms Sturgeon, STA chief executive Marc Crothall and UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said: “While I imagine the decision to keep Glasgow at level three (with additional travel restrictions), amidst the growing prevalence of the so-called Indian strain of the virus, will have been a hugely challenging one for government in terms of balancing the public health crisis against the urgent need for businesses within all sectors to be trading as viably as possible, this has thrown a significant part of our industry and, indeed, the supply chain back into crisis mode and the mental health, resilience and commercial viability of the sector are of considerable concern.”

Requesting the urgent call, the business leaders said they expected the Scottish Government to acknowledge the current situation and announce further financial support.

In the letter, they highlight a series of issues faced by tourism and hospitality businesses in Glasgow and surrounding areas, including that they had been bringing in staff for the planned reopening on Monday who will no longer be needed, saying the “majority will be new and ineligible for furlough support”.

They said the travel ban has led to “widespread cancellations” for tourism businesses, food and drinks will go to waste and the supply chain has been “left in limbo”.

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