First Minister's plea
More shops close as industry bodies lobby for support
More shops are expected to close (pic: Terry Murden)
Non-food shops as well as construction sites across Scotland are expected to close, bringing virtually all retail and outdoor industry to a halt to help slow the rate of coronavirus transmission.
Hair salons and food outlets joined others in closing or restricting access. Buses are running empty, including Edinburgh’s sightseeing buses for tourists. Banks are serving customers in branches behind glass screens and asking customers to queue two metres apart.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon appealed for more workers to stay at home and for businesses to temporarily shut down.
“If you are not providing essential items like food and medicine, then please close.,” she said.
Colin Borland, director of devolved nations for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) said: “This move – and the plea to shut cafes, pubs and restaurants on Friday – underlines the need to get all of the Scottish Government and UK Government business support schemes up and running.
“We can’t see solid businesses that are so important to the fabric of our local places forced under due to circumstances way beyond their control.”
Card limit will be raised (pic: Terry Murden)
The contactless limit for in-store card transactions is expected to increase to £45 but may take some time before it can be applied everywhere.
Despite pleas for a united effort to combat coronovirus, commuters continue to pack on to trains. Pictures posted on social media showed a number of ScotRail trains full of standing passengers as a reduced timetable meant fewer trains around the country.
Scotland’s farming, fishing, food and drink organisations are urging businesses to follow some critical steps to reduce staffing to the bare essentials required to secure Scotland’s food supply.
At the same time, they are calling on the Scottish Government to provide greater clarity to Scotland’s 32 local authorities on who they should define as key workers, to support the supply of food across the country.
A group of Scottish berry growers is looking to hire more than 3,000 fruit pickers to meet a huge shortfall in its labour force as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
Angus Growers’ recruitment drive is targeting workers in the travel and hospitality sectors who are facing redundancy as a result of the virus. It is anticipating a shortfall of 3,200 workers – almost 80% of its workforce – this year as travel restrictions aimed at limiting the spread of the virus kick in.
A group of construction industry bodies, who between them represent the majority of contractor business in Scotland, has written to the Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop, asking her to use the Scottish Government’s influence to encourage firms to pay their bills promptly
SELECT, the Scottish and Northern Ireland Plumbers’ Federation (SNIPEF), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA Scotland) and the Scottish Building Federation (SBF) are among the 10 organisations saying this is one measure that would help with cash flow and save jobs.