The newly-formed Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) comprises many of the country’s largest and restaurant and bar businesses, including The DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers, Manorview Group, Lisini Pub Co, Caledonia Inns, G1 Group, Siberia Bar & Hotel, Mor-Rioghain Group, and Caledonian Heritable.
It is demanding that what it calls ‘rogue licensees’ - businesses that fail to enforce social distancing regulations, in light of the revised Scottish Government guidance limiting gatherings to six people from two households - should be shut down immediately to safeguard the wider industry.
“We have been forced to act because our industry is facing an existential crisis,” says Stephen Montgomery, who runs two hotels in Dumfries and Galloway.
“The vast majority of bars and restaurants in Scotland have been adhering religiously to every regulation that has been introduced because we realise the very future of our industry is at stake.
“The Scottish Government simply must not take a blanket approach if a few rogue licensees fail to do the right thing.
“All members of the SHG are united in calling on the Scottish Government to immediately shut down the operators of bars and restaurants who don't adhere to the very highest standards of social distancing, PPE and other essential hygiene measures.
Montgomery describes targeting the few bars and restaurants that are breaking the rules as “the proper and proportionate way to proceed”, particularly in light of the revised Scottish Government guidance limiting gatherings to six people from two households. He says it is vital businesses that adhered to the rules are allowed to remain open in order for proper test and trace procedures to be carried out.
“Responsible bar and restaurant owners across Scotland are also essential to the effective use of the track and trace system. If you shut down restaurants and bars, you are massively increasing the risk of more house parties and irresponsible gatherings, where track and trace is almost impossible.”
Hospitality businesses that form the SHG are founded and based in Scotland and collectively contribute a significant investment to the Scottish economy, employing around 6,000 staff across the country and accounting for a combined turnover of over £275m.