We are nearly there but this is just the start. Nicola Sturgeon is accelerating Scotland's lockdown easing phase.

The decision comes after England announced a reduction in their two-metre rule allowing hotels, pubs, restaurants and hairdressers to reopen from 4th July.

 

Much of the self-catering sector in Scotland can start welcoming guests from the 3rd of July, almost two weeks ahead of the now confirmed reopening date of 15th of July. Business who can provide outdoor hospitality now have a firm date for opening: the 6th of July.

 

Nicola Sturgeon said:

“As part of that, I’ll set out some indicative dates for when some measures and some phases - all being well - will come into effect. I said from the very start that if we maintained good progress we could move through phases perhaps more quickly, or bring certain measures forward. In some instances, that’s what we hope now to be able to do. But I want to stress that we are taking, and will continue to take, a cautious approach. Our aim remains maximum suppression of this virus because that is what will give us the firmest foundation to face whatever comes ahead. To deal with outbreaks such as those we’re seeing in other countries right now through targeted measures and also equip ourselves as best as possible to deal with any possible resurgence in the virus as we enter the winter months.”

 

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said:

"This unlocks major components of our tourism sector and offers Scots the opportunity to plan summer experiences closer to home and boost our local economies.  We are also delighted at the announcement that all accommodation and indoor hospitality can open from 15 July subject to guidance and restrictions and that our museums and monuments can also reopen from this date. While the STA has been instrumental in gathering data, evidence, numbers and projections to highlight the economic impact of government decisions and the opportunities that could exist, we must not lose sight of where we have all been over the last few months. We need our employees, visitors and communities to feel safe, reassured, protected and confident. A great deal is at stake – the health of our nation, our economy and indeed the reputation and sustainability of our tourism industry.  There must be a balanced message around unlocking, opening and safety; it is so important that we get this right.”

 

Yesterday Professor Hugh Pennington CBE, Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology at the University of Aberdeen, took part of a zoom call with other members of the hospitality industry to express his views on the challenges we face ahead controlling COVID-19 in public spaces.  He believes that weddings and larger gatherings will impose significant challenges for our sector as people tend to sing, dance and laugh closer to one another, allowing the virus to be spread more easily. 

 

Professor Hugh stated that he would be very surprised if there is a COVID-19 vaccine available before summer 2021 and that it is unlikely that it will provide the solution and cure. He believes the vaccine will be similar to the current flu vaccine, to be used mostly by the elderly and not effective in all cases, currently the flu vaccine is only effective to 60% of people. 

 

We still have a long fight ahead but the possibility of reopening hotels and hospitality businesses with extra care is the first and most important step to our sector's recovery. 

 

Hotel News Scotland

 


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