Nightclubs in Scotland, UK have started legal action against the country’s government in what they are calling “no longer justifiable” coronavirus restrictions.
Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) is an organisation that supports the nightlife industries in the UK, and they want to end restrictions on venue capacity and opening hours. Currently, hospitality venues in Scotland are only allowed to serve alcohol outdoors, and there is also an 8pm curfew.
NTIA Scotland said: “The hospitality sector in general, and late-night sector in particular, has been driven to the edge of insolvency by the severe restrictions in place since the start of the pandemic.
“Scottish government support has been wholly inadequate to compensate for operating losses and a majority of businesses have now incurred unsustainable debt as a result.
“Even worse, all strategic framework funding has now ended while there is no end date for the restrictions that make these businesses commercially unviable.”
An NTIA poll of its members uncovered the average debt amassed by venues was £150,000, and 39,000 jobs were at risk due to the restrictions that venues faced. If the venues debt becomes impossible to recover from, then not only will staff be out of work, but there will also be cultural voids left in many communities.
The NTIA said that they understand restrictions were needed, and they fully supported the vaccine programme, but they feel COVID-19 “no longer presents the threat to public health that it did even a few short months ago.”
In response, the Scottish government said: “We all want to get back to normal as soon as it is safely possible, but we must move very carefully to ensure continued suppression of the virus.
“The strategic framework business fund (SFBF) provided grants to businesses that were required to close by law or to significantly change their operation due to COVID-19 restrictions from 2 November 2020.
“Nightclubs were eligible for SFBF and will have now received restart grants of up to £19,500, equivalent to more than six months support provided by SFBF every four weeks.”