Easing lockdown

Shops, factories to reopen, but pubs remain closed

shop closed in Covid

Shop owners will reopen their premises (pic: Terry Murden)

Shops and factories have been given the go-ahead to reopen but Nicola Sturgeon left pubs and restaurants disappointed after being told they will stay closed.

There had been expectations that hospitality venues with outdoor spaces would be allowed to restart as the First Minister confirmed that Scotland will enter phase two of exiting the lockdown.

Ms Sturgeon announced that all shops – except those in malls – outdoor markets, factories, laboratories, warehouses, zoos and playgrounds can reopen from 29 June. Restrictions on moving house will also be lifted.

But the reopening of beer gardens will now have to await the next review on 2 July.

The industry’s representatives reacted with “shock and dismay”. Scottish Licensed Trade Association managing director, Colin Wilkinson said: “The First Minister’s announcement today is a bitter blow for Scotland’s hospitality sector, which expected to be able to now kick-start the rebuilding of the industry.

“With the decision now delayed until July 2, operators face another anxious period for the survival of their businesses.

“Already… 62% of people were unlikely to return to bars and restaurants for some time yet. The challenge of rebuilding our industry just got harder.”

Daily Business prediction at the weekend

From next Monday there will be relaxation over meeting up with friends and family and those who are shielding. Face coverings on public transport will be mandatory.

Construction sites can move to the next stage of restarting, urgent dental treatment can begin, college staff can return for preparatory work, professional sport can resume, and places of worship can reopen.

Ms Sturgeon has asked advisers to look at possibly reducing that to 1-1.5m in certain situations, but she said there was emerging evidence that places like pubs, restaurants and gyms can be “hotspots for transmission”.

Non-essential offices must remain closed.

The timetable

From 22 June: Face coverings will be mandatory on public transport

Restart for construction sites, urgent dental treatment, college staff for preparatory work, professional sport and places of worship

From 29 June: All shops, apart from those in shopping malls, can reopen along with outdoor markets, factories, laboratories, warehouses, zoos and playgroups.

Restrictions on moving house will be lifted.

Businesses remain concerned

Responding to the re-opening of shops, David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said: “It is welcome that Government has listened to our representations and that larger shops will be able to re-open sooner than anticipated.

David Lonsdale

David Lonsdale: ‘retailers ready to play their part’ (pic: Terry Murden)

“However it is crucial that there is a clear plan so shoppers can travel to and through our town and city centres, and also a short term economic stimulus package to encourage customers to start shopping again.”

Colin Borland, FSB’s director of devolved nations, said: “The Scottish Government must provide sharper detail for businesses about the re-opening programme.

“Some businesses will have wasted some of their precious reserves preparing to open their doors in the next few days, when actually they won’t be open for weeks. For example, pubs with beer gardens will be understandably frustrated – especially if they spent money getting cellars restocked.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce remained concerned about the social distancing rules. She said: “Clearly current physical distancing limits at two metres is unsustainable for many businesses so we welcome the fact that this is being reviewed, with recommendations due within the next two weeks. 

“We would suggest that the review be extended to consider the scientific evidence as adopted by many other countries together with the advice from the World Health Organisation. 

“We all know that science can never be exact so it is important that a broader analysis and view is sought from others before final decisions are taken.”

Politicians fear for parents and schools

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called for a strategic plan to support and defend Scotland’s economy, stating:  “What we need is not a reactive approach, based on short-life task forces, we need a pro-active, comprehensive, forward-looking, planned long-term approach for the whole Scottish economy.”

Jackson Carlaw

Jackson Carlaw: ‘situation is getting worse’

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said: “We all understand the gravity of the health emergency caused by coronavirus not just here, but across the whole world.

“But the ongoing economic and education emergency is getting worse with every day goes by, and this SNP government simply doesn’t get it.

“Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t understand the depth of the economic and education crisis facing the population.

“There’s a difference between adopting a cautious approach and ignoring businesses, parents, experts and teachers across the country.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said: “The First Minister has just announced a return to work for thousands of parents without adequately explaining who will look after their children.

“There is no school yet. Childminders are limited and can be costly and grandparents and friends are still off limits. Yet employers will be expecting them back to work and they will no longer be able to afford to stay off work.

“The Scottish Government is not delivering a joined-up approach to easing the lockdown. The First Minister needs to make changes so that everyone who is required to work can get the childcare they need.”

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