Businesses need a “no surprises” approach to local lockdowns with rapid communication from health officials, CBI Scotland has said.
The industry body says the lockdown measures reimposed on Aberdeen this week will be a “difficult second hit” for the hospitality sector.
It has developed a six-point action plan for any future local restrictions, including a clearer understanding of the “trigger points” for a lockdown and support for firms with high staff absences.
Some pubs and restaurants in Aberdeen have complained they were not contacted by health officials before they were named in a list of premises visited by people linked to the Covid-19 cluster.
Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said businesses had been working hard to follow government guidance.
She said: “Local lockdowns are a crucial piece of the puzzle in how we manage the risk of infection and reopening the economy safely, so we must get good at them.
“Government rightly needs to act fast on new information, so there will be limited notice, but we must aim for a ‘no surprises’ approach as far as is possible.
“It would be fair to say that the local business reception has been mixed at best on how they have gone so far.
“Not all restrictions are one-size-fits-all, as we have seen from the limited lockdown in Aberdeen and the full lockdown in Leicester.
“Each will have their own impact on businesses directly and indirectly, so we must get the building blocks in place to protect jobs, as well as lives.”
She continued: “For the hospitality sector in Aberdeen, that means bracing for a difficult second hit, just as it was looking to get back on its feet.
“We are learning all the time and now have more tools in our armoury to combat infection risks.
“But at the same time business resilience is lower than it has ever been, with cash and stockpiles run down.
“For an area like the north east of Scotland, that has already suffered from a downturn in oil and gas, it’s doubly important to get that right.”