A north-east hospitality group is calling for significant support in order to safeguard the sector.
The Aberdeen Hospitality Together (AHT), a group made up of hospitality businesses in the city, is requesting financial support following the introduction of the new restrictions.
Stuart McPhee, Spokesperson of AHT, said: “We are fully aware of the rising numbers across Scotland and the UK wide, and will, of course, comply with measures, however, we have employees to support and businesses to protect. In the current trading conditions that are being dealt to us, we are potentially placing many businesses on a knife-edge.
“With only 5% of transmissions being related to hospitality, it really feels that our sector is becoming the scapegoats of this situation.
“It is our feeling that the curfew will simply move the problem and fuel house parties with no measures to manage the spread of the virus.
“This is something our sector can provide with robust guidance and test and protect procedures in place along with the approach that if any venues do not follow the guidance, they should be closed down and not the industry at large.”
Meanwhile, Tony Cochrane, committee member of AHT and late-night venue owner, added: “It is vital that we have financial packages in place or we face a make or break situation.
“Customer confidence is at an all-time low and businesses are facing financial ruin with the furlough scheme winding up at the end of October. Without an extension of this or the longer-term extension of the VAT reduction, our sector will simply not survive.”
The AHT group now has more than 140 members from venues across the city including specific sector representatives such as restaurant, cafes and pubs.
The group has been working to create a unified voice for the sector since the localised lockdown in August which saw the city’s pubs and restaurants closed for three weeks and miss out on the successful Eat Out to Help Out scheme.
Since reopening venues, the group has worked closely with Aberdeen City Council and authorities including environmental health teams to ensure compliance and make the venues as safe as possible.
This led to the introduction of a city-specific 10-step safety assurance scheme and customer behaviour system.