A SCOTTISH business leader has said Nicola Sturgeon's signal of a delay to Scotland's lockdown easing will be "frustrating and painful for many Scottish businesses" who had hoped to reopen in time for the summer uplift.

The First Minister said it is "unlikely that any part of the country will move down a level from June 28".

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "The statement from the First Minister today, which outlined that the easing of Covid-19 restrictions in Scotland is likely to be delayed at the next review by three weeks to the 19th July, will be frustrating and painful for many Scottish businesses who were gearing up to make the most of a boom in summer trade over the coming weeks.

“A delay next week will dampen hopes for many businesses, particularly for those sectors that remain closed and may be forced to wait even longer to reopen, placing them and the jobs they support at risk."

It was previously hoped the whole of Scotland would move to Level 0 from that date.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon signals delay to lockdown easing in Scotland

Ms Sturgeon said it is now likely ministers "will opt to maintain restrictions for a further three weeks from June 28 and use that time to vaccinate - with both doses - as many more people as possible".

Ms Cameron said: “Scottish businesses understand the need for restrictions to protect public health and it’s clear that the vaccine programme is the silver bullet that will facilitate the reopening of our economy. Any delay must be used to expand the vaccine rollout and deliver the crucial second doses that will move us out of lockdown restrictions faster.

“After months of uncertainty, businesses have been demanding greater clarity and we welcome today’s confirmation that the long-awaited publication of the Scottish Government review of the unviable social distancing rules and more detail on plans for taking Scotland beyond the levels system, will finally be published next week.”

Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “This is a never-ending hell for hospitality workers and the businesses that employ them, especially those in the music and night-time sectors. However, if the Scottish Government is seriously going to consider better ways of managing our path through Covid then we would welcome that.

“Now is the right time to revisit the practical suggestions we put forward several times at the government’s request, such as tweaking the tiers so it’s easier for responsible businesses to trade viably while still protecting people’s health."

Scottish licensed trade operators said they are braced for “potentially another lost summer”.

The SLTA said: “Another summer season, essential for business survival, will be lost.”

The trade association’s managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “The hospitality sector is at breaking point with today’s announcement that the brakes are on for further easing of restrictions.”

Calling for further financial aid to ensure the survival of the licensed hospitality industry as it plays its part in rebuilding the economy, Mr Wilkinson said: “There needs to be an extension to the current support schemes available such as furlough, VAT reduction, deferral of loan repayments and so on.

“Our pubs and bars have already invested millions to provide a safe environment as we all learn to live with this virus and we need to be able to open without restrictions as soon as we can."

Former colliery wellness park plan consultation

HeraldScotland: The Barony will be a non-exclusive health and wellness destination, providing active health and mental relaxation facilities.The Barony will be a non-exclusive health and wellness destination, providing active health and mental relaxation facilities.

A JOINT venture company between National Pride UK Community Interest Company and Falcon International Financial Services Limited is inviting the public to view and actively participate by providing feedback on its proposals to develop an environmentally sensitive Eco-Therapy Wellness Park.

READ MORE: Located at the site of the former Barony colliery, near Aunchinleck in East Ayrshire, The Barony Eco-Therapy Wellness Park will occupy 108.8 acres should it be consented.

Scottish construction consultant gears up for new office era

HeraldScotland: Alastair Wallace.Alastair Wallace.

A SCOTTISH construction and property consultancy has abolished the nine to five working regime as it looks to promote the well-being of its employees amid the pandemic.

READ MORE: Thomas & Adamson declared its belief that the way we work has changed for good as it introduced a new flexible policy.

Sign up

You can now have the new enhanced Business Briefing with the top business news stories sent direct to your inbox, and Business Week for the weekly round-up on Sunday, by clicking below:

HeraldScotland: Herald Newsletter daily banner