• RedHanded Scotland

Routemap out of Lockdown Announced & Reactions

Updated: Mar 17

A quick overview of the route map out of lockdown here in Scotland following First Minister announcements today in the Scottish Parliament and reactions from the industry as we get them.



2nd April 2021

Stay at home measures became ‘stay local’ for non-essential purposes.

5th April 2021

Some retailers and ‘click & collect’ permitted to open.

University and college students return to in-person teaching.

Hairdressers and barbers can re-open for appointments only.

26th April 2021

Travel within mainland Scotland allowed.

All shops, stores and close contact services can re-open.

Hospitality venues like cafes, pubs and restaurants can open until 8pm indoors with no alcohol being served and until 10pm outdoors with alcohol permitted.

Tourist accommodation can open with restrictions in place.

Gyms can open for individual exercise with restrictions.

Indoor attractions and public buildings such as galleries, museums and libraries can open.

Takeaway food can be collected indoors.

17th May 2021

Hospitality venues can open until 10:30pm indoors with alcohol permitted with a “2 hour dwell time” and until 10pm outdoors.

Outdoor contact sport and indoor group exercise can restart.

Cinemas, amusement arcades and bingo halls can open.

Small-scale outdoor and indoor events can resume with restrictions.

Early June

Hospitality can remain open until 11pm.

Attendance at events can increase.

Indoor non-contact sport can take place.

End of June

Phased return of office staff.

Event increase numbers.


Please note: dates and restrictions could be subject to change, please visit https://www.gov.scot/ for the latest and full information.


James Thomson, owner of Prestonfield House Hotel and The Witchery, said:

“Today’s announcement by the First Minister has provided us with a much needed route out of lockdown and will now allow us to start to plan for reopening our doors at Prestonfield and The Witchery on 26th April and to rebuild our businesses and the economy. We are very much looking forward to popping a few corks on 26th April, no matter the weather and to welcoming everyone back again.”


Nic Wood, Owner of Edinburgh-based Signature Group, Scotland’s leading pub, bar and restaurant collection, said:

“We’re grateful that the First Minister has provided a clear, concise re-opening schedule and we look forward to 26th April to open our doors and serve customers outside, initially. This is much needed announcement as businesses must plan, invest, retrain, educate and prepare to reopen in 2021 after a devastating 2nd wave of Coronavirus. For most of the central belt, we have not served alcohol since 8th October 2020 and whilst we won’t be popping champagne corks, to enable people to enjoy a cocktail with a main meal is progress and demonstrates a degree of trust from the First Minister in the behaviours of the general public and operators.

“Whilst there has never been any evidence to suggest hospitality spread the virus, and the restrictions to trade & guidance to operate make transmission unlikely, we are encouraged that the Scottish Government is listening and beginning to understand the complexities of our sector. No one is underestimating the effects of the pandemic and public health is right to be at the forefront of all minds but we need to consider the economic implications and find the right balance. Jobs must be protected and this news will come as relief the 250000 employed in the Scottish hospitality industry. Reopening will be steady and practical and we need customers and patrons to come out, when they feel the time is right and support their bars & restaurants.”

Signature Group operates McLarens on the Corner in Morningside; Cold Town House in the Grassmarket; The Huxley on Rutland Street; Copper Blossom on Gorge Street; Badger & Co on Castle Street, and a number of other quality food and drink venues across the capital and the rest of Scotland.


Stefano Pieraccini, Director of The Broughton on Broughton Street, said:

“I think it’s largely positive news that we’ve finally got an indicative reopening date to work towards, but an earlier announcement in line with England would have given the industry a better chance to prepare.

“Those businesses with outside space are clearly going to get a head start to serve alcohol with food, but that isn’t going to work for very businesses model. We now need to make some quick decisions about whether or not it’s viable for us to deliver an alfresco service to our St Andrews customers in the short term.”




Tom Campbell, Executive Chair of North Coast 500 Ltd, said:

“It is really encouraging to see positive steps in the reopening of the hospitality and tourism sectors and while there is still caution, businesses and communities now have the ability to plan for a relaxation in the restrictions. While we have consistently said that everyone needs to follow the Government guidelines, it can be said now with a more positive approach and belief that the reopening of these local businesses, that are vital to the Highlands economy, is in sight.”


Tanja Lister, owner of the Kylesku Hotel in Sutherland on the North Coast 500, said:

"We very much welcome the indicative timelines as set out by the First Minister this afternoon. After a bruising year, we’re eagerly awaiting to reopen our doors once more and welcome back our much-missed guests.

“Whilst it has inevitably been, and continues to be, a challenging time, the messages of support and the pent up demand have carried us through this. The last year has underlined the key role that hospitality and tourism plays as part of our way of life and also wellbeing. We will be ready with that famous Highland welcome just as soon as restrictions lift."


Murray Lamont, proud owner of Mackays Hotel in Wick, Caithness and the North Coast 500, said:

“This is the news we have been waiting to hear and thank the First Minister for listening to us. Hospitality and Tourism are the foundation of the northern economy and probably the worst affected industry by Covid.

“The industry understands and respects the need to be responsible and adhere to rules for everybody’s safety and wellbeing. The dates given of reducing the mainland from level 4 to level 3 is a great start as is the lifting of travel restrictions. We need to know the detail of the modified levels so as we know how exactly hospitality will operate.

“The hospitality industry is desperately eager to demonstrate the warm highland welcome visitors are used to. We must be able to provide the best the Highlands has to offer in food and drink offerings.

“We can now have a clear plan, so as we structure the opening of our business, at the moment many wholesalers and suppliers in the supply chain have furloughed their staff and need time to get people back in place. The simple things like bread milk cheese and cream, supplies have been cut due to lack of demand from hotels. Breweries will need at least four weeks to get supplies back on track and beer into our cellars.

“Many well-established businesses are on the edge and some business owners are facing collapse. The announcement of further help with 100 per cent rates relief for the year with restart grants will help greatly and reduce the risk ahead. People now have the opportunity to book trips around the North Coast 500 with confidence knowing that attractions can open and Hospitality business’ will look after them.”


Quintin Stevens, owner of the Storehouse at Dingwall on the North Coast 500, said:

“We’re delighted to be finally getting an indicative date for the reopening of hospitality in the North Highlands, which we can all support and start planning towards. We can’t wait to welcome visitors back to The Storehouse and the wider North Coast 500 as soon as it’s safe to travel.”






Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said;

The First Minister’s announcement of an indicative timeline for the phased reopening of our tourism and hospitality sector will be massively welcomed by the sector today; it is the most positive news we have received in a long time.


The STA has been in discussion with the Scottish Government on almost a daily basis over the past few weeks to highlight the need for a clearer route out of lockdown to be given to tourism businesses and our supply chain, not only to allow for the necessary timeframe to plan for reopening, but to protect the many thousands of jobs which are at risk.

Today’s announcement will offer some very much needed light at the end of what has been the darkest tunnel for our industry.

One of the biggest challenges for tourism businesses has been the restrictions around travel throughout the country which will be removed as of 26th April allowing all tourist accommodation, cafes and restaurants the opportunity to open, 50 guests to attend weddings and our tourist attractions and adventure operators to start operating again.

The sector has been closed for the majority of the past year; every aspect of the route map announced this afternoon offers us a more solid pathway for securing and protecting jobs and the ability to plan for reopening in accordance with government guidelines, building consumer confidence that when visitors choose to return, it will be safe to do so.

Concern remains around the impact of the loss of our international market which will continue to be felt acutely by many sectors who are dependent on our global markets to trade viably, but it was encouraging to hear the First Minister to discussions set to take place with the travel industry and refer to a review of this mid-May.

It’s absolutely critical that continued tailored financial support, by way of grants is made available to those who won’t be in a position to open and trade viably until we move into the much lower levels; the up-front restart grants will be very welcomed to assist with that outlay.

The detail announced today will I know come as a huge relief for so many and we look forward to posing further questions to the First Minister over the course of the coming days for an exclusive interview which will form part of the STA’s virtual conference programme on 24th March.


We hugely appreciate the level of consultation between the Scottish Government, the STA and our colleagues within the sectoral groups and their willingness to listen and respond favourably to the recommendations which have been presented.

We of course acknowledge that these dates are provisional and are committed to working in a safe and professional manner to minimise risk and ensure that our tourism industry can play a key part in the rebuild and recovery of Scotland’s economy.”



‘Tough times ahead’ for licensed hospitality sector, warns SLTA


The SLTA (Scottish Licensed Trade Association) has expressed bitter disappointment after today’s announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that bars, restaurants and cafés will not be able to serve alcohol indoors when the licensed hospitality industry reopens next month.


Warning that there remain “tough times ahead” for licensed hospitality as Scotland slowly emerges from lockdown, SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “This is not the news we were hoping for. Yes, it’s good news for those bars, restaurants and cafés with suitable facilities who will be able to serve people outdoors – in groups of up to six from three households – until 10pm from 26 April.


“However, for indoor hospitality, today’s news is yet another bitter blow and we are surprised that the Scottish Government has chosen not to allow premises to sell alcohol when they reopen next month. “We of course welcome the news that from 17 May, hospitality venues will be able to open until 10.30pm indoors with alcohol permitted and, for outdoors, until 10pm.


“We welcome these indicative dates for reopening as they provide more clarity for businesses but overall, these slight lifting of restrictions don’t go far enough and, for the majority, reopening will remain unviable. We’re bitterly disappointed.”


The SLTA welcomed confirmation that on 22 March, recipients of support under the Strategic Business Framework Fund will receive a final four-week payment then in April a further combined payment of a two-week payment under the Strategic Business Framework Fund, and eligible hospitality and leisure businesses will also receive a further payment of up to £19,500 in the form of a restart grant.


But Mr Wilkinson said: “Restrictions will continue into June and beyond, leading businesses further into debt. The typical small hospitality business has taken on between £60,000 and £90,000 in bank debt and deferred bills as of February this year just to survive Covid – and the debt is rising with every week of low or no income.”


He added: “If there is a positive to come out of today’s announcement it is that we have something to work towards but that doesn’t change the fact that for a very high percentage of business, reopening in April will simply be unviable.”


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