UKHospitality has called for additional support for Scottish operators after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday that current coronavirus restrictions would remain in place until 19 July.

Executive director Leon Thompson said the announcement extended the difficulties being faced by hospitality businesses who are desperate to trade without restrictions.

“What was completely absent from the First Minister’s statement today was anything on business support. This is vital to ensure that businesses - which have already held on so long and are now at breaking point - can survive.”

Sturgeon said she hoped all businesses should be at level 0 from 19 July and that all remaining restrictions would be lifted on 9 August.

He said that while the delay in moving to Level 0 was expected, businesses have simply been placed in limbo and will need to wait weeks for the changes they need.

“With no movement until at least 19 July, the summer season has been shortened for many, with businesses and employees facing continuing uncertainty.

Thompson added that the announcement regarding the publication of the physical distancing review and the steps after Level 0 will need scrutiny as no information on these was shared prior to today.

“The indicative date of 9 August for a further move to normality will seem a long time away for many businesses struggling with debt and restrictions are likely to still remain at that point.”

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, said the further delay was very disappointing for the sector.

“It is positive that we now have indicative dates alongside vaccination milestones, but we desperately need to see an end to these restrictions altogether. Our sector’s recovery does not begin until that point. The 9th August cannot come soon enough,” she commented.