Anger last night erupted over Nicola Sturgeon’s plans to impose a two-week alcohol ban inside pubs and restaurants across Scotland, while closing bars entirely in coronavirus hotspot areas – a move industry chiefs called a ‘death sentence’ for hundreds of Scottish venues.
The Scottish First Minister yesterday warned cases have started to surge among the older generation as she banned pubs and restaurants from serving alcohol indoors in Scotland for at least 16 days from Friday.
She told MSPs at Holyrood that the situation was ‘better than March’, but admitted she needed to take a ‘backward step’ as she unveiled a dramatic ‘circuit breaker’ squeeze to coincide with the school half-term north of the border.
As well as a ban on serving alcohol, hospitality venues will only be allowed to open from 6am to 6pm as Ms Sturgeon said without the crackdown the virus could be ‘out of control by the end of this month’.
But in five ‘hotspot’ areas in Scotland’s central belt, which includes Edinburgh and Glasgow and is home to approximately 70 per cent of the population, pubs will be closed altogether apart from takeaways until October 26 and people will be advised against using public transport.
Hospitality bosses last night described the decision as a ‘total catastrophe’ that will be the ‘final straw,’ for hundreds of venues.
Sector chiefs said Ms Sturgeon had ‘effectively signed a death sentence for many businesses’ and said the ‘real problem’ was socialising at home.
The Scottish Licensed Trade Association told The Telegraph that more than two-thirds of pubs, bars and restaurants ‘could be mothballed or go under’, along with more than half the sector’s jobs.