Business leaders have spoken of their relief as Covid restrictions are due to be eased in Glasgow and others parts of Scotland.

But they have also warned that many firms are facing ruin, with growing frustration at the pace of restrictions easing. 

Nicola Sturgeon has announced that parts of Scotland are to move from Level 2 to Level 1 of the five tiers of restrictions, which run from 0-4.

Edinburgh and Midlothian, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, the three Ayrshire areas, North and South Lanarkshire and Clackmannanshire and Stirling will remain in Level 2.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon reveals which areas will move to Level One coronavirus rules

But Glasgow, which was kept in Level 3 when measures eased in the rest of the country on May 17, will move to Level 2 on Saturday, with Ms Sturgeon saying the outbreak there had stabilised with case numbers falling slightly.

Tracy Black, CBI Scotland Director, welcomed the decision saying busineses were struggling to keep afloat and needed to resume trading for the summer season.

HeraldScotland:

Alcohol can now be served indoors as well as outdoors in Glasgow

Under level two restrictions Glaswegians will be able to drink alcohol indoors, meet in private residences, and hug loved ones from the weekend.

Those in Level 1 areas can meet outside and indoors in public places in larger groups.

Numbers at events, weddings and funerals can also increase, and pubs can open slightly later indoors.

Ms Black said: “Businesses across Glasgow will be relieved to see an end to level three restrictions finally in sight.

"For hard hit sectors like hospitality, leisure and tourism in areas now moving to level one, the further easing of restrictions will provide a much-needed boost as they look to make the most of the summer trading period.

“While support from the UK and Scottish governments has helped to keep many firms afloat, nothing can compete with normal trading and businesses will be looking to claw back revenues lost over the past twelve months."  

READ MORE: More than 470 new coronavirus infections in 24 hours

However, she added that with some restrictions still in place, many firms and venues will have their fingers crossed the picture improves sooner rather than later.

Ms Black said: “For those areas that remain under tighter restrictions, owners and staff will have their fingers crossed that health data allows for a further easing of restrictions in the very near future.

"Firms across the country are also looking for clarity as soon as possible on the Scottish Government’s plans for social distancing requirements and Covid-status certification for the weeks and months ahead.”

HeraldScotland:

Cockburn Street, Edinburgh - which will stay in level two 

Andrew McRae, Scotland policy chair for the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), said there would be "frustration" progress on easing restrictions had stalled in some parts of the country. 

He said: “Today’s changes really are two steps forward but one back for Scotland’s business community.

"Glasgow and large swathes of Scotland will be pleased to hear that some restrictions are to be lifted. But firms and communities in the rest of the country will be frustrated that progress has stalled.

“We’ve gone from lockdown to slowdown, and patience and cash reserves are in short supply. The Scottish Government’s next priority must be to outline how they’ll get all of the country’s smaller firms and self-employed back on their feet."

 

Mr McRae warned that the end of the furlough scheme could be the "final straw" for struggling firms, and help must be put in place before this point is reached. 

READ MORE: Glasgow to move to Level 2 as public health measures lead to drop in cases

He said: “From the start of July, the furlough scheme will begin to get wound down but it looks like businesses in Scotland will still face substantial trading restrictions. This could be the final straw for many local operators, and decision-makers in Edinburgh and London must avoid this crunch point.

"Further, we need to get urgent financial help to firms who took on workers in anticipation of greater freedoms but now can’t furlough these employees.”

Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “It is immensely welcome that Glasgow will now be able to move from Level 3 to Level 2 on Saturday, as well as 14 local authorities across Scotland which will move to Level 1. This is thanks to the tremendous efforts of both businesses and the public in suppressing the virus.

“Businesses will understand the importance of tackling the new ‘Delta’ variant, but today’s decision will be a great relief for some and disappointing for others. While some areas will be able to take advantage of further re-opening, other areas have hit another roadblock.

“Where restrictions have been extended, the Scottish Government must provide adequate and targeted financial support for businesses directly affected by today’s announcement. The testing and vaccination rollout must continue to accelerate quickly so we can collectively meet the milestone of level 0 on 28th June."

She added: “We also need urgent clarity and a clear timeline on the reopening of offices and further relaxation of restrictions on international travel. This must go hand in hand with a comprehensive physical distancing review which facilitates businesses to expand their trading capacities.”