The Scottish Government announced that they will be providing £100m of support to businesses over the winter period as the Omicron COVID variant spreads.
This funding is intended mostly for the hospitality sector whose customers are being encouraged by the government to cancel their Christmas parties and reduce inter-household mixing during the festive period.
However, the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce does not think this will be enough to support over the time which they expected to bounce back on sales after last Christmas.
Vicki Unite, the chief executive of the Perthshire Chamber of Commerce, explained: “Businesses, especially in hospitality, were already feeling the pain after the First Minister’s briefing last week, with the subsequent cancellation of many events and gatherings.
“The latest announcement – outlining the most stringent set of measures in the UK at the moment – is a double whammy of misery for those affected.
“It may be viewed as necessary, but the Government must act with equal haste in helping the beleaguered businesses at the sharp end of things.
“The £100million – set aside for businesses in hospitality and the food supply chain – is nowhere near enough and we would hope the Government would pledge more money immediately before it’s too late.”
Businesses are being asked to step up their precautions against COVID by implementing social distancing, encouraging customers to check into ‘test and protect’ and to reduce crowding.
To help businesses with this, the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon said: “We want to keep businesses open but to help achieve this we are asking them to step up the protections in place in their premises.
“For hospitality, it will mean, for example, measures to avoid crowding at bars and between tables, and a reminder of the requirement to collect contact details of customers to help with contact tracing.
“For employers more generally, the guidance will make clear that enabling staff who were working from home at the start of the pandemic to do so again is now a legal duty.”
Now, the Scottish Government is ramping up their vaccine booster programme and encouraging over 18’s to get their jab.
The health sectary, Humza Yousaf, said: “The most important thing we can all do to protect ourselves and others from COVID-19 is to get our vaccinations and boosters when eligible. The vaccines we have are highly effective and safe and I urge anyone who is eligible and not yet vaccinated to book an appointment.
“Demand for boosters may mean you may have to wait in a queue at drop-in centres but we urge everyone to be patient. We have plenty of supplies and are working with Health Boards to maximise vaccination capacity as quickly and safely as we possibly can.
“The emergence of the Omicron variant means it is also particularly important that we continue to take all precautions to prevent transmission. So test regularly for the virus, particularly before socialising and meeting up with others from outside your household, wear face marks where required and open windows to improve ventilation.”
More information on the vaccine in Tayside can be found on: https://www.nhstayside.scot.nhs.uk/YourHealthWellbeing/PROD_345323/index.htm