As of today (17 May), much of mainland Scotland will move from Level 3 to Level 2, meaning pubs and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol indoors once more, with up to six adults from three households able to meet indoors in a public place.
However, on Friday (14 May) First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that both Glasgow and Moray will remain in Level 3 amid concerns a new surge of Covid-19 cases in Scotland is being driven by the Indian variant of the virus.
The decision means alcohol sales are restricted to outdoor settings, with indoor service limited to the sale of food and non-alcoholic drinks for groups of up to four people from no more than two households.
Affected businesses will be entitled to a grant worth up to £750 for each week the restrictions are extended.
“It’s an absolute disgrace," says Mario Gizzi, owner of restaurant group The DRG, which operates seven restaurant brands across Glasgow including Atlantic Brasserie, Café Andaluz and Barolo.
"Not only have our plans been thrown up in the air but it’s been done last thing on a Friday night.
"At just one of our sites, The Citizen in Glasgow, we’ve spent more than £6000 in staff costs getting ready and roughly the same in fresh produce. As a standalone unit, all this food will be wasted and can’t be transferred to another restaurant. Even worse I’m now having to pay for extra staff in our call centre to cancel all next week’s bookings.
"It’s outrageous to have these hugely damaging decisions taken by people who have no idea of how the hospitality industry runs. When you look at the figures the offer of £750 in grant compensation really is a joke.”
The Scottish Government will review the position in a week and continue to work closely with Glasgow City and Moray Councils and the local Health Boards to reduce case numbers with measures including enhanced testing and vaccination, and provide targeted support for businesses which have to remain closed or continue to operate under Level 3 restrictions.
Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), says he asked the devolved Government on Wednesday (12 May) for a heads-up about any changes to the plan to ease restrictions, but didn't hear anything back until the announcement was made by the First Minister on Friday.
"We’re in exactly the situation we wanted to avoid for the hospitality businesses in Glasgow," he says.
"Here we are a full year on and it seems decision-makers have learned nothing and it’s shameful to be treating people this way.
"Staff are getting ready for their shifts, or have been working flat out to prepare for opening, and have ordered stock. You can’t just turn this stuff on and off like flicking a light switch.”