The co-owner of Greywalls Hotel at Muirfield in East Lothian, who has a background in studying infectious diseases, has flagged his belief that the restrictions imposed on hospitality by the Scottish Government this week are “necessary” amid the resurgence of coronavirus.

Dominic Hoar, who owns Greywalls with his wife Johanna, noted the resurgence of the virus and said of the measures: “I see [them] as necessary even if they are not very [useful]. What else is there?”

Mr Hoar, who was speaking ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement yesterday of extended job support, added: “Better to have a two-week circuit-breaker in October when the furlough scheme is still available than have a four-week one in November or a longer one over Christmas.”

He flagged the importance of an effective test and trace system as a “cornerstone” until there was a vaccine.

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The Scottish Government on Wednesday announced a 16-day closure of pubs, bars and restaurants in the central belt from last night, with hotels in this area allowed to continue operating to serve guests but with restrictions applying to alcohol sales. Restrictions on hospitality businesses have also been imposed in other parts of Scotland.

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Mr Hoar flagged Greywalls’ securing of a funding package with Weatherbys Private Bank to meet the hotel’s financial requirements amid the coronavirus pandemic through to spring 2022 on the basis of his worst-case scenario projection.

He contrasted Weatherbys’ accessibility at the height of the pandemic with that of the hotel’s high street bank, while emphasising he had sympathy for the latter institution in terms of the challenges it faced in dealing with inquiries about UK Government-backed loans amid the crisis.

Mr Hoar is optimistic about the prospects for a vaccine. He said coronavirus was “one of those things” for which it ought to be possible to produce a vaccine.

He said: “There is a large number of vaccines in development. I would hope, even if what we have at first is not a complete silver bullet, they will be refined over time. I am confident that will happen...

“By spring 2022...I would be forecasting some kind of return to normality. Even the airlines are expecting a return to normality by spring 2022.”

He added: “There would have to be a vaccine certainly for the vulnerable population by then. I would have thought it would have to be some pretty awful chain of events for that not to be a return to normality.”

Mr Hoar, a lawyer who studied medical microbiology at the University of Edinburgh and did a PhD in molecular biology focused on tuberculosis at University College London, revealed it had become clear to him in February that he should arrange a bank overdraft to be “on the safe side”.

He said: “I think it was probably apparent from February that it might be a rocky summer coming up, just because of the increase in Covid cases.”

Noting the extent to which seasonal businesses such as Greywalls are reliant on a busy summer, he added: “You want to be as cautious as you can, knowing if you are locked down you have to return deposits. When you are facing a lockdown and you don’t know whether that is going to be a month, three months, six months, 10 months, you obviously...put things in place. As it turns out, that was absolutely necessary.”

Mr Hoar said the UK taxpayer-funded coronavirus job retention scheme had been a “fantastic idea” to enable businesses to keep staff.

He and his wife took over responsibility for Greywalls in 2019. It was previously under the stewardship of Johanna’s parents – the late Giles Weaver, a stalwart of the Scottish fund management industry, and his wife Rosamund.

Highlighting protracted difficulties in contacting his high street bank to discuss an overdraft during lockdown, Mr Hoar said: “Thankfully my mother-in-law Ros suggested we speak to Hayley [Robinson] and Weatherbys were thankfully open for business.”

Security was arranged over one of the estate buildings for the overdraft agreed with Weatherbys.

The 27-bedroom Greywalls Hotel reopened on July 15.

Mr Hoar said it had retained the bulk of its previous workforce of 45, noting some former employees had returned home to the likes of Australia and New Zealand.

He revealed that trading had been “much, much better” than he had thought since reopening, although adrift of last year’s levels.