NICOLA Sturgeon has admitted that key decisions taken on the virus crisis will be “doing somebody harm” as pubs and restaurants are set to be handed further misery.
The First Minister ruled out sending Scotland back into the draconian lockdown endured earlier this year, “even on a temporary basis” – insisting that schools will not be shut, people will not be told to “stay at home” and there will be no countrywide travel ban.
But Ms Sturgeon suggested that her announcement on Wednesday afternoon could lead to pubs and restaurants facing further restrictions in an attempt to halt people gathering together and spreading the deadly virus.
Although a “circuit-breaker lockdown” was essentially ruled out, Ms Sturgeon suggested that “additional targeted steps” are now required.
Hospitality settings such as pubs, restaurants and cafes are expected to take the brunt of any further restrictions announced on Wednesday, amid speculation over the 10pm curfew being extended or tighter measures to stop people mixing.
Scotland’s pub trade has warned that thousands of jobs will be on the line if restrictions are tightened at short notice, without input from the industry and further economic help being provided.
Finance Secretary Kate Forbes warned MSPs that the Scottish Government faces a “budget of unprecedented uncertainty” that amounts to “billions of pounds”, impacting the ability to combat the economic turmoil caused by the virus.
She added: “The delay of the UK Budget means the Scottish Budget for next year will be based on provisional and partial figures, and therefore subject to unnecessary uncertainty and risk, at a time where uncertainty and risk are not in short supply.
“We will not know what parameters we have to work with on crucial issues such as health funding or businesses support.
“The degree of uncertainty runs to the billions of pounds.”
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