Scottish Government faces legal action over Covid restrictions on nightclubs and hospitality

The Night Time industries Association (NTIA) has announced plans to take legal action against the Scottish Government over coronavirus restrictions.

In a statement, the organisation has accused the Scottish Government of offering “wholly inadequate” support and claimed 39,000 jobs were now at risk.

Challenging the ongoing use of social distancing, they claim the pandemic “no longer presents the threat” it did months ago.

The body says: “The hospitality sector in general, and late-night sector in particular, has been driven to the edge of insolvency by the severe restrictions in place since the start of the pandemic.

Nightclubs in other parts of Europe, such as this one in Sofia, have already opened their doors to a 50 per cent capacity limit following months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Picture: Nikolay Doychinov/AFP via Getty Images

“Scottish Government support has been wholly inadequate to compensate for operating losses and a majority of businesses have now incurred unsustainable debt as a result.

“Even worse all strategic framework funding has now ended while there is no end date for the restrictions that make these businesses commercially unviable. [A total of] 39,000 jobs are now at risk as a direct result.

“The reality is that the current emergency restrictions on opening, capacity, activities and operating hours make thousands of businesses commercially unviable.

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“Social distancing is toxic for businesses across numerous sectors of the economy, from restaurants, pubs and bars, wedding suppliers, music venues, nightclubs, coach tours, travel, and tourism, and many more.

“We accept that restrictions were initially necessary in the interests of public health, and indeed we not only fully supported previous measures taken, but also actively promoted the government’s public health messages via social media channels and to our customer base.

“However, thanks to the heroic efforts of our NHS workers, vaccine researchers, and scientists, and the immensely successful roll-out of the vaccine, Covid-19 no longer presents the threat to public health that it did even a few short months ago.”

The NTIA have now claimed the existing restrictions are “no longer justifiable” and allege they are in breach of the Human Rights Act.

The body has retained the services of TLT Solicitors and the Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop QC, to argue its case “in court at the earliest practical opportunity”.

The Scottish Government has been approached for comment.

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