UKHospitality Scotland has warned the return of Covid measures in Scotland’s hospitality venues will be “the final straw” for many owners and operators.

Executive director Leon Thompson also insisted the sector would likely lose £1bn during December as “public health messaging has hammered trade and threatened jobs and livelihoods”.

His comments come after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the Scottish Government would introduce a raft of rule changes that would come into force on 27 December for three weeks.

These include the introduction of table service in licensed premises, implementing a one-metre distance rule between groups of people attending hospitality venues, and restricting the number of households that attend these premises as part of a group to three.

In a speech to Scottish Parliament, Sturgeon also announced the cancellation of Hogmanay events and revealed that crowds at outdoor public events would be limited to 500 from Boxing Day for at least three weeks, with numbers at indoor public events restricted to 100 standing or 200 seated.

“Today’s announcement of further restrictions across hospitality businesses will, for many, be the final straw as owners and operators weigh-up whether it will be worth remaining open beyond Christmas,” Thompson said.

“With public Hogmanay celebrations cancelled and Scottish Government advice for people to stay at home and to limit social contact, hospitality will have little opportunity to trade. Hotels, bars and restaurants are once again left counting the cost as they receive more cancellations and losses pile up. Our businesses are the bedrock of communities and high streets across the country. Tonight, the very fabric of our economy is in tatters.”

On the same day Sturgeon addressed Scottish MSPs, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors in England would be eligible for one-off grants of up to £6,000 per premises, plus more than £100 million discretionary funding would be made available for local authorities to support other businesses.

“We recognise that the spread of the Omicron variant means businesses in the hospitality and leisure sectors are facing huge uncertainty, at a crucial time,” he said.

“So we’re stepping in with £1 billion of support, including a new grant scheme, the reintroduction of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme and further funding released through the Culture Recovery Fund.”

As part of the support packages announced, the devolved administrations would receive around £150 million of funding through the Barnett formula, comprising around £80 million for the Scottish Government, £50 million for the Welsh Government and £25 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Thompson claimed the hospitality financial package “would not save businesses”.

“The financial package is too little and, given no money will reach businesses until some point in January, it will come too late for many businesses,” he said.