Coronavirus in Scotland: More than a third of UK hospitality businesses fear permanent closure due to Covid restrictions

The impact of coronavirus restrictions on hospitality has meant that more than one in three business owners fear they won't reopen in the next three months, a study has shown.

By Katharine Hay
Thursday, 19th November 2020, 5:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 19th November 2020, 7:48 pm
A man stacking away chairs outside The last Drop pub in The Grassmarket, Edinburgh.
A man stacking away chairs outside The last Drop pub in The Grassmarket, Edinburgh.

A total of 34 per cent of traders in the UK hospitality sector said they have low or no confidence that their business will survive due to the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

The recent figures were published by the Office for National Statistics on Thursday and show the accommodation and food service industry had the highest percentage of businesses fearing economic survival over the winter period.

The news comes as a wave of five-star hotels across Scotland have had to close for a second time due to the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

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Isle of Skye’s world-renowned hotel The Three Chimneys is set to close next week for the foreseeable future while The Old Course Hotel in St Andrews, situated next to the famous golf course it’s named after, and five star resort Gleneagles have both already closed for the winter period.

Other large chains have been severely affected by the latest regulations including Caffè Nero which has been forced to launch a restructuring of its business following the second lockdown.

In a statement a spokeswoman for the coffee shop chain, which employs about 6,000 workers, said "the pandemic has decimated trading.”

WH Smith also announced this month that it was set to close 25 shops, putting jobs at risk after making a financial loss due to the pandemic.

The recent ONS statistics show 30 per cent of the UK’s pubs had already stopped trading by the end of October compared to just 20 per cent in the same position at the end of September.

A total of about one in five (21 per cent) of businesses in the hospitality sector said they have high confidence that trade will continue to do well in the coming months despite the nation-wide coronavirus restrictions, while 36 per cent said they are moderately confident and just ten per cent said they are not sure.

For all types of businesses across the UK, the study confirmed a total of one in seven (14 per cent) fear they won't survive the next three months.

The ONS survey with these latest statistics was carried out in the first two weeks of November.

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