THE owners and senior managers of over 100 Scottish hotels have written to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, urging immediate changes to new Covid-19 measures introduced last Friday.
The hotels, which include Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire and Prestonfield House In Edinburgh, say that the rules, which prohibit the sale of alcohol in public areas to hotel guests, will lead to thousands of job losses because of a damaging drop in revenues.
Stricter rules mean that all pubs and restaurants in the central belt of Scotland, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley, have had to close both indoors and outdoors until 25th October. Licensed premises can still serve takeaways.
Pubs, bars, cafes, and restaurants in the rest of Scotland will not be allowed to serve alcohol indoors and can only be open between 6 am and 6 pm for food and non-alcoholic drinks.
Hotels can still serve evening meals to residents but not with alcohol.
In a letter to the First Minister signed by over 100 hoteliers, Jill Chalmers, the Managing Director of Glenapp Castle in Ayrshire, who is spearheading the immediate call for change, says: “Not being able to sell alcohol in public areas to hotel residents in Scotland negatively impacts their stay and future guests are already starting to cancel their bookings. This measure in particular is threatening the small thread of revenue – a lifeline for many – which still exists for hotel businesses in Scotland at this difficult time.
“We urge you to reconsider this and allow hotel guests, staying a minimum of one night, to consume alcohol in all settings, not simply room service alone. In addition, we believe that we should be able to serve non-residents until 6 pm, as a café is allowed to do.
“If there is no change, we have no doubt that we will suffer deeper losses. We are talking about trying to survive, not about profitability. Without this small change in your policy, there will be thousands of more job losses in the coming month.”
Under the new rules, wedding parties already booked in at hotels are able to consume alcohol yet non-wedding guests nearby, staying under the same roof, are unable to.
Jill Chalmers continued: “You can imagine the pressure on hotel staff, and the potential threats they might face, having to negotiate with different guests over the measures. It is unreasonable to expect staff to deal with this especially if guests try and join the wedding groups in order to drink alcohol.”