UP to 12,500 jobs are at risk in Scotland’s bars and pubs due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to an industry body.
A survey by the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) found nearly nine in 10 of them were facing reduced revenue.
The responses from 600 premises also found that 45% of owners did not expect to return to normal trading until a vaccine for the disease was found.
One industry expert warned the sector was facing a “battle for survival”.
The survey, sponsored by KPMG, found revenues had dropped by more than half from the same period last year at 38% of premises.
Social distancing regulations have also had an impact, with pubs and bars spending an average of £2,500 per outlet to comply with the rules.
Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said: “The impact of Covid has been more severe for Scotland’s pubs and bars than virtually any other sector, and we now face the stark reality that up to 12,500 jobs could be lost as nearly 90% of premises report that their revenue is down versus last year, with 38% reporting revenue decreases of over 50%.
“Our own survey reinforces a recent survey by the University of Edinburgh on behalf of the tourism industry, which shows the devastating impact on employment in pubs, bars and the wider hospitality sector.”
He added: “With many people working from home and local restrictions, one of Scotland’s major employment sectors faces unparalleled difficulties and the current business climate is leading to a real threat of permanent business closures and job losses.”
Alistair McAlinden, head of hospitality and leisure for KPMG in Scotland, said: “It’s incredibly concerning but not entirely surprising, to hear that so many licensed trade operators across Scotland are worried about large-scale job losses and possible business failures over the next twelve months.
“The industry is facing a battle for survival and there will inevitably be some casualties.”