Nightclubs and bars in Scotland are facing up to the government in a legal battle to end limits on venue capacity and opening hours; restrictions that are currently still enforced due to COVID-19.
In the country, the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) has launched legal action against the government’s COVID-19 rules, describing them as “no longer justifiable or proportionate.” The current COVID rules read that venues must serve alcohol inside their doors, and that indoor hospitality must close by 8pm.
NTIA Scotland outlined in their judicial review that “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“. In a recent poll they conducted, they discovered that the average debt amassed by venues had surpassed £150,000 and that 39,000 jobs were at risk as a result.
In the same statement obtained by the BBC, they direct blame towards the government, saying that;
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.
Restrictions are set to be eased on May 17, as up to six people from three households can meet together in indoor public spaces. Entertainment venues will be also be able to resume service with limited capacity from this date. In the meantime though, it will be interesting to see how the story unfolds with the livelihood of bars and nightclubs in Scotland at stake.
Image credit: Everything Edinburgh