Chef restaurateur Tom Kitchin, Nic Wood of pub and bar collection Signature Group, James Thomson of Prestonfield and The Witchery, Edinburgh’s Carina Contini and the Scotland-wide Crerar Hotels group are leading the campaign.
Hospitality workers have shared ‘Save Our Jobs’ selfies on social media using the hashtags #SaveOurJobs and #ScottishHospitality to highlight the faces behind the jobs under threat.
Support has been drawn from across Scotland with hoteliers, restaurateurs, publicans and café owners joining forces in a drive ‘to raise awareness of the scale of the crisis facing the industry’.
The campaign’s organisers say Scottish hospitality business owners are worried that they are running out of time to save vital jobs, many of which are held by people aged between 16 and 24 year’s old.
People aged between 16 to 24 years old currently make up 50% of the hospitality workforce in Scotland, however, since February, youth unemployment has risen from 6.1% to 14.5% in Scotland.
The hospitality industry are also calling to the government to find practical, evidence based solutions to remain open whilst keeping their staff and customers safe.
“We’re in really challenging times as an industry and now is the time to act. The impact this situation is having not just on Scottish hospitality but also on our supply chain is enormous,” says Kitchin, who runs a number of venues in and around Edinburgh including the Michelin-starred The Kitchin in Leith.
“I was speaking to a supplier yesterday and he was in tears. Many producers and even members of our team are in great stress and I have serious concerns for their health and well-being if this carries on.”
“Everyone linked to our industry is affected by the restrictions and curfews and hospitality and tourism being such important corner stones of the economy cannot be wiped out.
“Our industry is in a real need of help, especially having only just partly recovered from the first lockdown. We have worked so hard to keep our guests and diners safe in hospitality settings, taking all safety precautions needed to remain safe while enjoying good food and drink.”
“Eliminating the risks of the virus is obviously our greatest concern, but there need to be a balance. For the hospitality future of Scotland.”
Earlier today (21 October), it was announced that restaurants, pubs and bars across Scotland’s central belt will have to remain closed for at least a further week, as leaders work on a tiered system for the country.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that while there is 'cautious optimism' the restrictions are having an effect, Scottish ministers had been advised that it would not be safe to lift measures on Monday (26 October) as originally planned.
Sturgeon ordered the shutdown of hospitality businesses across central Scotland, including in Glasgow and Edinburgh, on Friday 9 October, with licensed premises across the rest of the country temporarily banned from selling alcohol indoors and subject to a 6pm curfew on indoor service.
The closures applied to restaurants, pubs and bars in the five health board areas that cover the central belt, which include Greater Glasgow and Clyde; Lanarkshire; the Lothians; Ayrshire and Arran; and Forth Valley.
At the time the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), which comprises nine of the country’s largest independent hospitality operators and collectively employ over 6,000 people, declared that the First Minister had 'effectively signed a death sentence' for many businesses across the Scottish hospitality industry.