Pubs and bars in Scotland call for earlier reopening as England relaxes rules
The Scottish hospitality industry has called for a faster reopening as they warn pub goers may try to “jump the border” to enjoy a pint after easing of restrictions in England.
Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group and owner of the Townhead Hotel in Lockerbie, said he would "love to be opening up at the same time as our colleagues down south".
Pubs and restaurants in England can open from today, serving customers outside. In Scotland pubs and restaurants are expected to open in the next phase of lockdown easing on April 26, but will only be able to serve alcohol outside.
However, that will not be confirmed until April 20.
Mr Montgomery said: "We're going to be seeing people jump the border ... for that long awaited pint of cold beer while we still remain closed. Scotland's always been behind in the way we've been operating for the last year, so it's going to be no different this time. We are at a disadvantage."
Self-catering providers have also warned they are losing business from holidaymakers able to book breaks in England. South of the border, people are allowed to travel freely – including between England and Wales – and can stay in accommodation with members of their own household or bubble.
Fiona Campbell, chief executive of the Association of Scotland's Self-Caterers, said one member of the organisation had four properties in the borders area – two in England, two in Scotland. While the English properties are occupied from today, those just a short distance over the border remain shut.
Ms Campbell said: “With international travel unlikely to be a viable option for the immediate future, we have a real opportunity to revitalise the domestic tourism market in Scotland. But we need to be able to welcome guests from across the border.
“It is more than frustrating for businesses right on the border, watching from across a river, at colleagues opening their doors.”
She added: “It is becoming increasingly difficult to communicate with guests who can’t understand why they can’t come and stay in self-catering accommodation, when it is open in England.
“Meanwhile, our island tourism businesses, including many self-catering operators, are deeply concerned at the prospect of losing business due to any difference in travel restrictions between the islands and mainland.”