THE decision to “press pause” on the easing of Covid restrictions in Glasgow has been branded “brutal” by businesses. 

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed this evening the city, which is now Scotland’s Covid ‘hotspot’, will remain under Level Three rules for a further week amid concern over a rise in cases and the Indian variant of the bug. 

It means Glaswegians will not be allowed to drink alcohol inside venues such as pubs or visit family or friends indoors. The likes of cinemas, snooker halls, and stadiums will also not open on Monday as originally planned, with overnight stays to remain banned. 

READ MORE: Glasgow's Q Club snooker hall owner in fight to re-open business sooner

Lake Sharma, owner of pool hall Q Club, was among those to hit out at the decision, accusing the Scottish Government of not caring about businesses. 

The 55-year-old said: “It is brutal and a shambles. 

“I was working it out. The best part of £250,000 has been spent by snooker clubs to get ready to open. 

Glasgow Times: Lake Sharma branded the decision as brutal Lake Sharma branded the decision as brutal

“We’ve just had £3000 of stock delivered. Everyone had smiles on their face and we were starting to get staff back off furlough. 

“We just don’t know what we do now. You’re rushing about trying to get everything done then last minute this happens.

“It’s the actions of people who are not caring and they don’t see the aftermath of these decisions.”

Mario Gizzi, owner of The DRG group, which runs a number of restaurants in the city, said: “It’s an absolute disgrace. 

"Not only have our plans been thrown up in the air but it’s been done last thing on a Friday night. At just one of our sites, The Citizen in Glasgow, we’ve spent more than £6000 in staff costs getting ready and roughly the same in fresh produce. 

"As a standalone unit, all this food will be wasted and can’t be transferred to another restaurant. Even worse I’m now having to pay for extra staff in our call centre to cancel all next week’s bookings. 

Glasgow Times: Mario Gizzi, left, branded the decision as outrageous Mario Gizzi, left, branded the decision as outrageous

"It’s outrageous to have these hugely damaging decisions taken by people who have no idea of how the hospitality industry runs." 

A review will take place next week to consider if the city can then be moved into Level Two. 

Several areas have reported high rates of Covid in recent weeks – including Easterhouse and Pollokshields – and figures published today showed there were 80.4 cases per 100,000 people in the seven days to May 11. 

Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick called for lessons to be learned about the management of localised spikes. 

He added: “It is deeply disappointing that Glasgow has been affected by a localised spike in Covid-19 cases and cannot move to Level Two as planned. 

Glasgow Times: Stuart PatrickStuart Patrick

“There will be many businesses that have been planning and incurring costs to move to Level Two operations and once again they are caught up in developments outside their control.” 

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today, Ms Sturgeon said concern over the so-called Indian variant was one of the factors behind the “difficult decision”. 

She added: “I know how disappointing this will be but pressing pause for a few days will avoid a situation where we have to impose more restrictive measures in the coming weeks.” 

Covid Scotland: Lockdown restrictions won't be eased in Glasgow next week amid rise in cases

The leader of Glasgow City Council, Susan Aitken, backed the decision but admitted it was “desperately disappointing”. 

She added: “I know lots of us will be really distressed by this news. But this is a really fragile moment in the city’s recovery after making great progress in driving down Covid cases since the beginning of the year.

Glasgow Times: Susan Aitken Susan Aitken

“The safety of our communities and our most vulnerable citizens and the long term health of the city must come first.

“It’s down to all of us now to fight for Glasgow and turn this around.”