Spa expects to lose early summer in tighter lockdown
In the swim: Stobo has pushed back its plan to reopen (pic: Terry Murden)
Scotland’s tourism bosses fear they may have to remain closed until the early part of the summer season after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon prepared the country for tougher restrictions.
Ms Sturgeon said the current lockdown is “very unlikely” to be lifted at the end of the month and some fear it could drift beyond Easter.
Continued closures continue to frustrate hospitality businesses with the management at Stobo Castle Health Spa among those who have given up on hopes of a Spring re-opening.
The resort, near Peebles in the Borders, had already delayed its reopening from 1 January to 1 March.
It has now pushed back the date to 1 July unless restrictions are eased allowing it to welcome guests before then.
Elliott Winyard, managing director, said: “Yet again this seems unrealistic and sadly it has been necessary to extend our closure, provisionally until 1 July 2021.
“But this very much depends on restrictions in force at the time. Should the Covid-19 vaccination programme be successfully rolled out before then, this date may be brought forward.”
Mr Winyard said those with a booking in place between March and June will be contacted.
“I would like to apologise for the disappointment caused.. however I am confident that by the middle of this year we will be able to look forward to a brighter future ahead and a prosperous end to 2021,” he said.
Gleneagles and Auchrannie resort on Arran among other well-known attractions which have closed for the winter and will not expect to fully reopen any time soon.
All of mainland Scotland and some islands were placed into level four restrictions – the highest level – on 26 December.
Ministers have been discussing the possibility of imposing tougher rules in a number of areas including click and collect shopping and takeaway food, with an announcement expected to be made on Wednesday.
Retail industry representatives have described click and collect services as a “lifeline” for struggling businesses amid the forced closure of all non-essential shops.
They said they had not been shown any evidence that click and collect was driving transmission of the virus, although John Lewis has independently announced that it will shut its click and collect service at department stores.
Organisations from across Scotland’s Food and Drink industry have written a joint letter to Rural Economy Secretary, Fergus Ewing, to request that food and drink takeaway services be permitted to continue.
The government, meanwhile, is likely to take firmer action to restrict movement. It and has confirmed that from Friday everyone arriving in Scotland from overseas will need to show proof of a negative test for Covid.