Commenting on today’s announcement from First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, that Scotland will move to a modified version of Level 0 Covid restrictions from Monday 19 July, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland Policy Chair, Andrew McRae, said:
“After a week of reading various signals from government and the data, small businesses do now have some clarity about the conditions in which they’ll be trading for the coming weeks.
“Probably the most important news was that physical distancing will be cut to one metre indoors. That will make a difference for smaller shops, pubs and cafes who find it very hard to trade profitably when the numbers allowed in their premises are so restricted.
“It’s less good news for things like the events sector, trying salvage something of what’s left of the summer, that we’re not seeing the complete end of social distancing outside.
“Removing the requirement to pre-book your slot at a hospitality venue premises should hopefully generate some extra passing trade. That said, they do need to keep collecting contact details for now.”
On what the trading environment might look like from 9 August, when Scotland is scheduled to move beyond Level 0, Andrew said:
“As important as today’s announcement is, the big key date is 9 August – and what the trading landscape looks like then.
“It’s important that any covid requirements and regulations that remain after 9 August aren’t disproportionately challenging for smaller firms. And we will, of course, continue to contribute to the conversation about what the picture beyond Level 0 should look like.
“It may well be, for example, that things such as the continued wearing of masks in certain situations are an acceptable price to pay for completely removing some of the difficult requirements around physical distancing.
“Whatever happens, we need to minimise the number of measures that remain in place and communicate them clearly to businesses and the public. A jumble of regulations, guidance and best practice all bumping into each other and confusing everyone is a recipe for trouble.
“We need clear, reliable messages from government about what is allowed and what things people do not need to do anymore.”