TOURISM businesses will be economically unsustainable if the 2m social distancing rule remains in place in Scotland, according to a new survey.

Focusing on the hospitality sector, the Scottish Tourism Alliance found the vast majority of firms will struggle under the 2m measure.

In the survey of 1,052 businesses including hotels, restaurants and cafes from June 16 to June 21, some 85 per cent said they will have to stop trading if the rule remains in place and no further financial help is offered.

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association ran a similar survey during the same time period, which found just 13% of pubs believe they can reopen with 2m social distancing measures.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Tuesday that the regulation will be relaxed to 1m-plus from July 4 in England, with people advised to take other precautions such as wearing face coverings.

Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government has asked its scientific advisory group to review the measure. It is expected to report by July 2.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: "The survey confirms that around 85% of businesses within the hotel and restaurant sectors in Scotland will stop trading if the 2m physical distancing rule remains in place for the next two months should no further financial support be forthcoming.

"The figures reflect the many conversations we have been having with businesses across all sectors in the tourism industry for months and underline just how crucial the current review of the 2m physical distancing rule is within the context of the health and economic crises."

Almost a third of hotels surveyed said they will not reopen on July 15 directly because of the social distancing regulations, while 23% of restaurants said they cannot afford to continue if restrictions are not reduced to 1m.

Restaurants said if they are required to trade at 2m without any additional support beyond the next two months, there will be almost 9,000 jobs at risk due to closures.

Mr Crothall said: "Our tourism industry has welcomed the publication of the sector guidance for reopening and fully supports all recommended measures to ensure the safety of employees, visitors and our communities.

"However, many businesses do not plan to open again with the 2m rule in place as it's simply not economically viable for them to do so.

"Coupled with the expected slow recovery forecast, we expect a steady stream of job losses across the whole of Scotland over the coming weeks."

He added: "Also, as we all know, visitors will choose where to stay based on the tourism product available in that area and are unlikely to travel to destinations that have a limited product in the form of restaurants, visitor attractions and pubs.

"This will have a direct knock-on effect on the current limited demand for accommodation in our destinations and the impact on our local economies and supply chain is likely to be severe."