Scotland’s malls, pubs and restaurants are hoping for a £200 million spending bonanza when they reopen this week.
Enclosed shopping centres will open their doors tomorrow while the tills will be ringing again – with cash being discouraged – at pubs, restaurants and hairdressers from Wednesday.
Trade body the Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) said the country’s stores will work flat-out to claw back some of the estimated £125m they lost each week of lockdown. SRC head of policy, Ewan MacDonald-Russell, said: “The shopping experience may be different, but customers should feel confident visiting the high street.”
And Andrew McRae, policy chair at Scotland’s Federation of Small Businesses, said: “As the country takes these next steps back to something like normality, we encourage everyone who can do so to get back out into their community and support their local independents.”
As Scotland enters phase three of the route map for easing the lockdown, from Wednesday indoor pubs, cafes and restaurants can also ask for an exemption from the two-metre social-distancing rule, but will be required to inform customers they are entering a one-metre zone, as well as having revised seating plans and improved ventilation systems.
Advice on physical distancing will have to be adhered to at all times, and customers will have to provide their contact details. All holiday accommodation can also open again, along with cinemas, museums and art galleries.
The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA) estimated that 6.8 million pints were poured down the drain because of the lockdown and, it fears, up to 460 pubs that closed at the start of the lockdown are likely to remain shut permanently. Around 17 million pints – worth £68m – have been brewed to restock pubs, which will last until the end of the month.
SBPA chief executive Emma McClarkin said: “Wednesday is without a doubt an exciting time for pubs and bars across Scotland. After almost four months of forced closure, and almost seven million pints needing to be destroyed, operators are desperate to welcome customers through their doors.”
She added: “The pandemic was obviously catastrophic for the hospitality industry, with an estimated £670m lost in revenue for Scotland’s pubs and bars since March.
“Support from both Scottish and UK Governments has been instrumental in keeping businesses afloat until now, but we estimate that up to 460 pubs could have been lost during this time and will not be reopening their doors on Wednesday.
“For those which have survived, further additional support will be needed through the long recovery period ahead.”
UK Hospitality said Scottish businesses in the sector have lost between £750m and £1 billion during the lockdown.
Executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod said: “This is an unprecedented crisis, so we very much expect revenue to be down. Many businesses have had three whole months of closure with no revenue at all.”
Shopping centres can now reopen.
Dentists can carry out routine check-ups and other procedures, but not those which produce a fine mist, such as drilling or cleaning.
Organised outdoor contact sports, play and physical activity resume for under-18s.
Pregnant women can have partners attend scans and appointments, and allowed hospital visitors.
Scotland’s tourism sector fully reopens, including all hotels, B&Bs, campsites and rented accommodation.
Pubs and restaurants can open indoor seating areas, with a reduced one-metre social distancing rule.
Museums, libraries, cinemas and galleries can reopen, with social distancing.
Hairdressers and barbers can begin to welcome clients with new hygiene measures in place.
Places of worship can open, but with restricted singing, social distancing and limited attendances.
Restrictions on attendance at services and ceremonies for funerals, weddings and civil partnerships will be eased.
The child care sector will also be able to fully reopen.