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Pubs and restaurants ‘could go bust within weeks’

Image copyright Getty Images Image caption The public have been urged to stay away from pubs and restaurants The hospitality industry is warning businesses could go under within weeks if they do not receive government help.Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the public not to go to pubs, clubs and restaurants in response to the…

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The public have been urged to stay away from pubs and restaurants

The hospitality industry is warning businesses could go under within weeks if they do not receive government help.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged the public not to go to pubs, clubs and restaurants in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

But he has not ordered businesses to close – meaning they cannot make insurance claims for their losses.

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association says bars will quickly be hit with devastating cash-flow problems.

Spokesman Paul Waterson told the BBC’s Good Morning Scotland programme that the UK and Scottish governments need to send out “clear, definite messages” to the public.

He said: “You can’t say pubs have to stay open, then tell people not to come into them.

“To leave it up to us (the industry) to decide when we are in a very, very difficult situation is just wrong.”

Already shut

Mr Waterson added: “A lot of us have expected this to happen and a lot of places have already shut.

“I think, now, we’ve got to look towards the government to help us out.

“If we don’t get the support, we could well see the majority of hospitality business failing.

“For some people, it could be a week without any income that would see them go under. It could be a month or two months for others – it just depends on cash reserves.”

Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon said neither the UK or Scottish government currently has the power to order premises to close – but that should change soon.

She said: “There is emergency legislation that is about to go through Westminster which will deliver some of these powers.

“I do think it is reasonable for pubs and restaurants and people in the wider entertainment and hospitality sector to seek that clarity.

“I am determined, as first minister, that we will give as much clarity as we can.”

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Media captionNicola Sturgeon: “We can get through this and we will get through this”.

A number of restaurants in Edinburgh announced plans on Tuesday to launch collection and delivery services for local people.

Wedgwood the Restaurant on the Royal Mile, Harajuku Kitchen in Bruntsfield and Indian Restaurant Tuk Tuk said they remained open and were operating as normal.

Kaori Simpson, chef patron of Harajuku Kitchen, said: “We made the decision to start a home delivery service, to support the community, especially those who are self-isolating or working from home.”

There are now 171 cases of the virus in Scotland, up 18 since Sunday.

New measures announced on Monday include:

  • Stop all non-essential social contact and stop going to places with a high concentration of people such as pubs or cinemas
  • Avoid using public transport as much as possible
  • Avoiding all social contact is particularly important for people over 70, for pregnant women and for those with some health conditions
  • Work from home if you can
  • Anyone living in a household with somebody who has either a persistent cough or fever must now also isolate themselves for 14 days
  • Very vulnerable people with compromised immune systems – estimated to be around 200,000 in Scotland – will be given tailored advice on self-isolation that could last a “period of weeks or months”

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