Scotland hospitality suffers Hogmanay cancellations due to new Covid rules

Some of Scotland's hotels and bars say they have lost up to 85 per cent of their New Year's Eve bookings because of the latest Covid restrictions.

Under new Covid rules imposed on Boxing Day, indoor standing events are limited to 100 spectators, and indoor seated events to 200.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has advised indoor gatherings to include no more than three households and promotes social distancing measures.

Moffat's The Black Bull Inn is remaining shut this Hogmanay.

The owners feel being less than an hour from England will leave them with very few customers. They say it will likely cost more to open than they will take in.

Although Deputy First Minister John Swinney is discouraging Scots from heading to England, they are not legally obliged to stay north of the border.

While the Selkirk Arms in Kirkcudbright has not suffered cancellations, owner Chris Walker says the new restrictions will put a dampener on celebrations and hit the hotel and its staff in the pocket.

Just along the street from the Black Bull, The Famous Star hotel and bar were relying on the cash injection over the festive period to tide them over. 

The hotel's sport bar was hoping to fall back on football fans for both Scottish and English games. But cancellations and postponements to fixtures due to Covid outbreaks have left them in the lurch. 

"We have lost all that," continued Mr Leighfield. "The revenue is gone. We are still open, we have wages to pay. it's nowhere near what it should be."

Tim Leighfield

The Black Bull Inn plans to reopen when it is financially viable to do so but feel more should be done to help the hospitality sector in 2022.

"For me, the 5% vat cut that is looming in March, that needs to be rethought," Ms Seaton added.

In a statement given to Scottish Parliament on Wednesday 29 December, Nicola Sturgeon defended imposing tougher restrictions.

It is prudent, indeed I would say it is essential, that we act to slow transmission at this stage as much as possible," Ms Sturgeon said.

Defending restrictions likely to directly impact hospitality businesses through cancellations and reduced footfall, she added:

“The higher transmissibility of Omicron means large gatherings have a much higher potential to become super spreader.

She went on to say that allowing the virus to spread will be more detrimental to the nighttime economy in the long run, and highlighted the £375 million allocated to support affected businesses.