Reintroduced restrictions in Aberdeen have been described as a “devastating blow” by business leaders, who also recognised the need for the move.

Bars, cafes and restaurants have been ordered to close as lockdown restrictions are reimposed in the city over a coronavirus cluster in the area.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said 54 cases have now been reported in the outbreak.

READ MORE: Aberdeen put back into partial lockdown after 'significant outbreak'

The Scottish Tourism Alliance and UK Hospitality said in a joint statement: “Today’s announcement that restrictions will be imposed in Aberdeen from 5pm today for at least the next seven days will come as a devastating blow to the many hospitality businesses who have invested significant amounts of money in reopening and providing a safe experience to their staff and the public.

“Aberdeen serves as an example of how quickly the virus can reignite and illustrates the immediate impact that this has on a local economy and public health.

“It is absolutely critical that all businesses and customers follow the government guidelines and safety protocols stringently and that we safeguard as best as we can to prevent this situation happening elsewhere in the country.

“Today’s news comes as a shock and should serve as a reminder that disregarding these guidelines has almost immediate consequences, however we must also recognise that many people and businesses are enjoying the easing of restrictions in a safe way that poses little threat to public safety.”

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “This will be very disappointing news for many businesses in Aberdeen who have just opened back up over the past few weeks and who were beginning to return to some form of normality.

“However, businesses will accept that it is imperative that local restrictions must come into force if we are to prevent any wider spread of cases from Aberdeen to other parts of Scotland. The health of our communities must come first.

“As outlined by the First Minister, we would highlight that businesses will be able to refurlough their staff should they need to limit the risk to jobs and livelihoods.

“Further targeted government support will be required for all businesses affected, specifically those in indoor and outdoor hospitality who have been ordered to close tonight in Aberdeen."

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “While this news will come as a disappointment to many people and businesses, it’s essential that we keep on top of the virus and public safety must come first.   

“Aberdeen won’t be the last local area that faces renewed restrictions in the coming months, so the Scottish Government must do everything it can to provide clear, timely advice and appropriate support to firms and individuals. That’s a must to maintain public confidence.”

Stephen Gow, general manager of the Chester Hotel in Aberdeen, said: “We are supportive of the localised lockdown in Aberdeen to keep as many people as safe as possible.

“We have been serving up to 400 guests every day since we opened in two open sided marquees with a host of new measures in place to make everyone feel safe.

"We have had terrific guest feedback on all of our new ways of operating and the levels of service which our very hard-working team has been able to deliver under trying circumstances.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that a minority of the population was unable to abide by sensible physical distancing and this has led to us having to send all of our staff home again when they have all done the hotel proud.”

Car insurer Hastings is to be taken private after agreeing to a £1.7 billion takeover by a consortium involving the firm's largest shareholder.

Shares in the firm surged on Wednesday morning after it confirmed the offer from South Africa's Rand Merchant International, which is Hasting's largest investor, and Finnish insurer Sampo.

READ MORE: Nearly 400 jobs go as rescue deal struck for Scottish clothing retailer

The company board has agreed and recommended the deal but it still needs approval by company shareholders.

The cash offer will hand shareholders in the company 250p per share as well as an interim dividend of 4.5p per share.

Sampo said it had been eyeing an expansion outside of its core Nordic market and hopes the deal will also help it grow beyond its main life insurance market.

Hastings confirmed the offer as it also reported a 31% jump in adjusted operating profits for the first half of 2020 to £78.3 million.

It said the improvement was driven by strong policy growth, while motor insurance claims also declined as policyholders stayed at home during the lockdown.

Toby van der Meer, chief executive officer of Hastings, said: "In regards to the business' performance for the first half of 2020, I am immensely proud of how the Hastings team has adapted and responded to Covid-19 to make sure we continue to do the right thing.

"We have taken support measures and actions amounting to tens of millions of pounds during the pandemic, focused on our colleagues, customers and our local communities.

"We minimised interruption for our customers, with our colleagues able to work and serve customers from home within a few weeks of the Government's lockdown being announced."

Shares in the company were 17.2% higher at 252p.

Cafe bar operator Loungers saw shares spike after it said like-for-like sales were only slightly lower over the past four weeks.

The company, which also runs the Cosy Club brand, said like-for-like sales were down 1.7% over the four weeks from July 4, when it first reopened sites.

READ MORE: Opinion: Stuart Patrick: Job market will be extremely tough for young people this summer, but business community stands ready to help

In a trading update, the company said it is "encouraged" by the initial strength in its trading performance and is "confident the company will emerge strongly from this period.

The group will have reopened all 165 of its sites by Friday.

Shares were up 20.9% at 130p.

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