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Immediate action demanded

Government urged to shut down ‘rogue licensees’

Kenny, Alison and Colin Blair of Buzzworks

The owners of Buzzworks are among those calling for action

A group of Scotland’s restaurant and bar owners have called on the Scottish Government to immediately shut down licensed premises which flout social distancing regulations.

The newly-formed Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) said action needs to be taken to safeguard the wider industry.

The businesses collectively employ close to 6,000 staff across the country and have a combined turnover of more than £275 million which they say is at risk from “rogue” licensees.

Hotelier Stephen Montgomery, who runs two hotels in Dumfries and Galloway, said: “We have been forced to act because our industry is facing an existential crisis.

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“The vast majority of bars and restaurants in Scotland have been adhering religiously to every regulation that has been introduced because we realise the very future of our industry is at stake.

“The Scottish Government simply must not take a blanket approach if a few rogue licensees fail to do the right thing.”

Members of the SHG include The DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers, Manorview Group, Lisini Pub Co, Caledonia Inns, G1 Group, Siberia Bar & Hotel, Mor-Rioghain Group, and Caledonian Heritable.

A crowded bar in Aberdeen which led to local lockdown

Mr Montgomery added: “Targeting the few bars and restaurants which are breaking the rules is the proper and proportionate way to proceed, particularly in light of the revised Scottish Government guidance limiting gatherings to six people from two households.

“Responsible bar and restaurant owners across Scotland are also essential to the effective use of the track and trace system.

“If you shut down restaurants and bars, you are massively increasing the risk of more house parties and irresponsible gatherings, where track and trace is almost impossible.” 

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