Hospitality chiefs and business leaders have spoken of their disappointment and devastation after lockdown restrictions in the city were extended for a week.
Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures would stay in place for at least another week following the city’s coronavirus outbreak.
The first minister said there was as yet no requirement to introduce more restrictions in Aberdeenshire when she updated MSPs on the situation.
However, those working in the hospitality industry have called for more support, with the move being described as “the final nail in the coffin” for city firms.
At First Minister’s Questions, Ms Sturgeon said 272 cases had been identified in Grampian since July 26, of which 177 had been linked to the cluster associated with Aberdeen pubs.
From those 177 people, 940 other individuals had been contact-traced.
Twenty four of the new cases in Scotland yesterday were in the NHS Grampian area but it was not clear how many of them were connected to the outbreak in the city.
The restrictions in Aberdeen mean that bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs are closed
People should not travel more than five miles for leisure or holidays, there should also be no travel to the city for leisure or to visit friends and family, even if you live in Aberdeenshire.
The restrictions also mean no indoor visits with other households. While visiting is suspended for most hospitals.
JP McGivney, operations director at Underground, Unit 51 and BSSC, launched a crowdfunder last week to save the venues.
He spoke of his disappointment at the extension and called for help for the live music scene.
JP said: “It is sure to be the final nail in the coffin for a lot of business in Aberdeen.
“The government really need to come up with a plan to help the live music scene in the city before it is gone.
“There are many music venues and it seems like the roadmap for reopening is further away than ever.
“We understand the reason for this but it is disappointing.”
Meanwhile, John Anderson, owner of the city’s Staging Post, echoed calls for support
He said: “I was expecting this decision to be taken to be honest.
“I think the way the industry is going we have to have the government step in and provide help.
“It is not good for business. We opened in the hope of getting a last bite of the cherry to get some summertime trade.”
Although there had been a slight fall in the number of new cases in Grampian and those directly associated with the cluster, the levels were still too high for relaxing the measures to be a “safe or sensible” course of action.
The situation regarding the extension will be reviewed again in a week’s time.
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During the briefing Ms Sturgeon said: “Cases are still far higher than in any other part of the country and considerably higher than they were in Grampian before the outbreak started.
“So based on an assessment from the incident management team and advice from the chief medical officer, the Scottish Government’s conclusion is that it is not yet possible to lift any of the restrictions that were put in place last week for Aberdeen.”
She added: “We continue to watch closely for any signs that the outbreak has spread to Aberdeenshire in any significant way, but at present we are not placing any additional restrictions on people living in the ‘Shire.”
Ms Sturgeon said police had reported a high level of compliance with the additional restrictions imposed last week and thanked the public for taking heed of them.
Aberdeen City Council and Police Scotland had been involved in the decision to continue the local lockdown measures.
She added: “I want to stress that nobody wants these restrictions to be in place for longer than is necessary. They will be reviewed in one week’s time and as soon as we can relax any of them, then we will do.”
Business leaders have also highlighted the impact the extended lockdown will have on firms.
Russell Borthwick, chief executive of Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “It is very disappointing that the full local lockdown restrictions are to stay in place despite a slowing of new infections in the city.
“The situation is devastating both for businesses in the city and for consumer confidence, which had been starting to return. The longer it goes on, the greater negative impact we will see on the perception of the area from outside, impacting tourism, student recruitment, inward investment and business start-ups.
He added: “Hospitality and tourism businesses have been hit particularly hard with the survival of many SMEs balanced on a knife edge.
“Having come through the last four months and invested in safely reopening, through no fault of their own many venues are struggling to survive.”
Mr Borthwick also said the Eat out to Help Out scheme should be extended, and added: “To be clear, none of the listed ‘cluster’ venues were found to have breached guidelines.
“The sector and its supply chain need immediate local grant support as we saw in Leicester with no rates related eligibility criteria. Also additional support through the job retention scheme for the duration and an extension of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme into September by the number of weeks lost.”
“There has to be an element of personal responsibility taken too. Behaviour that fails to reflect that things are different for now doesn’t just risk people’s health but people’s livelihoods as it could lead directly to some businesses closing permanently. We rightly mourn each of the 2,800 deaths attributed to this in Scotland, but we should also mourn every business failure and job loss and ask if we have the balance between public health and economic health right?”
During the briefing Ms Sturgeon said in response to Aberdeen South and North Kincardine MSP Maureen Watt, that she would press the Treasury to extend the Eat Out to Help Out scheme in the city to help hospitality businesses when the restrictions are relaxed.
But the first minister added that it was not yet “safe of sensible” to reopen cafes which do not have an alcohol licence, but added that the situation would be kept under review.
Adrian Watson, chief executive of Aberdeen Inspired also highlighted the need for people to take “personal responsibility” and spoke of the “unparalleled challenges facing town and city centres.”
Mr Watson said the business body fully endorsed moves to to take full advantage of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme and was also pushing for other support measures.
He said: “Of course, our hospitality businesses in the city have been hit particularly hard, with some 15,000 people directly employed in this sector. They have worked hard to put robust safety practices in place and have complied with the guideline and legislative requirements expected of them in the current situation.
“However, expectedly there has been learning and we must do all that we can to reduce the risk once they are allowed to re-open. It cannot be over-emphasised that this needs the customer to accept personal responsibility too.
“Towns and city centres across the country and beyond are facing unparalleled challenges on what was an already difficult operating environment pre-Covid, and Aberdeen is not immune. None of us are blinded to the challenges, but it is only by working truly together will we make the progress the heart of our city desperately needs and deserves. So many people depend on it.”