Created by the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), the petition is part of a broader campaign to address minor changes in restrictions that the industry body says could help 'avoid business closures and redundancies'.
The introduction to the petition explains: “The Scottish hospitality sector is on the brink of ruin. Without a change in the government's approach or adequate financial support, local communities will lose vital facilities and thousands of people will lose their jobs - including many young people.”
In the 36 hours since it launched, the petition has received close to 4,000 signatures.
It comes as 11 local authorities across the west of Scotland prepare to move into the highest level of lockdown restrictions - Tier 4 - from 6pm today (20 November), meaning pubs, restaurants and cafes have to close, although takeaway can still be offered.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the restrictions would only be in place for a limited period of time, but failed to offer a definitive end date.
The SHG, which comprises nine of the country’s largest independent hospitality operators and collectively employ over 6,000 people, has previously asked for the Scottish Government to ‘tweak the tiers’ or publish the scientific evidence behind the restrictions on trading hours.
It has also warned that time is running out to save Christmas for families and businesses across Scotland, with continued deep uncertainty about what this year’s festive season could look like.
The petition calls on the Scottish Government to allow licensed premises in Tiers 2 and 3 to trade until 10pm with customers allowed to stay two hours for a meal; provide grant funding for viable businesses that cannot open, such as drink-led pubs; waive business rates until at least March 2022; and support a continued VAT cut to 5% across all hospitality revenue streams until at least March 2022.
It also demands a working group be set up in partnership with the industry to explore how best to emerge and recover from Covid-19.
“This is a plea on behalf of the whole industry, not just our members," says SHG spokesperson Stephen Montgomery, who runs two hotels in Dumfries.
"We are truly humbled by all the support we’ve had in such a short space of time but we need even more people to get behind the campaign.
“It’s vital that we send the strongest possible message on behalf of the workers, suppliers and communities that rely on Scotland’s pubs, restaurants and hotels.”
To sign the petition, click here.