Scotland’s Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is bidding to end coronavirus (COVID-19) related restrictions on venue capacity and hours of operation.
Under Scotland’s current limits, alcohol can only be served outside and indoor venues must close by 8 PM local time. The next phase is expected to allow indoor establishments to remain open until 10:30 PM, and indoor alcohol service within a 2-hour window.
Restrictions are expected to be eased on May 17, as up to six people from three households can meet together in indoor public spaces. Concert halls, music venues, cinemas, theatres and more will be able to resume operation with capacity limits.
The NTIA suggests this lift on restrictions is not enough, via the following statement obtained by BBC:
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.
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.
Thus, the NTIA is legally challenging the Scottish government’s restrictions, as they are deemed “no longer justifiable or proportionate.” Dean of the Faculty of Advocates, Roddy Dunlop QC, is asking for judicial review on the measures, in support of club owners and workers.
The Scottish government recently stated: “We all want to get back to normal as soon as it is safely possible, but we must move very carefully to ensure continued suppression of the virus.”
Businesses that suffered due to COVID-19 restrictions were encouraged to apply for grants from the Strategic Framework Business Fund from November 2020. Nightclubs were reportedly eligible for grants up to £19,500.
Source: BBC | Credit: Shutterstock / Anna Omelchenko