The First Minister has announced that restrictions on offices are not going to be lifted in September, and further support will be required from households and businesses to contain the coronavirus.
Andrew McRae, the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Scotland policy chair, said: “With the number of coronavirus cases increasing in Scotland and new public health restrictions coming into force across the UK, it is unsurprising that the Scottish Government hasn’t decided to allow more offices to re-open.
“But that doesn’t mean that this decision comes without consequences for firms reliant on workers’ footfall in our town and city centres. It will also be frustrating for those businesses being denied the option to begin bringing staff back – and for those employees who are keen to get back to the office.
“We understand that many businesses and workers will be looking at reviewing their working practices even after this crisis finishes. But innovative new help might be required for those firms currently facing a footfall-drought through no fault of their own.”
FSB in Scotland is urging the Scottish Government to detail a standard package of financial help for firms forced to close in the event of a local lockdown. The UK Government detailed such a package for firms in England yesterday.
Andrew McRae said: “Aberdonian businesses forced to close during their local lockdown were grateful for the grant support provided by the Scottish Government. To give some reassurance to firms facing an uncertain autumn and winter, we need to see Ministers in Edinburgh confirm that a similar package will be rolled out whenever businesses are forced to shut up shop.”
The First Minister also stated that customers visiting hospitality premises would be required to wear masks wherever possible, and it is now mandatory for workers in those businesses to wear masks.
Andrew McRae said: “The vast majority of smaller firms are trying to rise to the challenge that this pandemic has issued. We’ll continue to work with government to ensure that hospitality firms understand these changes, but we’ll need the public to meet pubs, cafes and restaurants halfway by understanding their new responsibilities too.”