Businesses and hospitality trade leaders reacted with disappointment and continued frustration to the First Minister’s decision that Glasgow will stay in Level 3 lockdown over the holiday weekend and  up to next Saturday at least.

The city will stay at level three with a decision by Wednesday at the latest if it can move to level two next Saturday.

Nicola Sturgeon said cases were still “uncomfortably high” and more time was needed to understand the impact of vaccinations on the virus.

READ MORE:Coronavirus: Glasgow to stay in level 3 lockdown

She said: “The difficult part of this update is that in Glasgow, cases have also continued to rise - in the last week by about 30%, from 112 per hundred thousand of the population, to 146.”

Publicans were angry at the announcement this week of a fan zone for the European football championships next month while restrictions are in place.

Billy Gold owner of the Heilan Jessie pub in Glasgow’s east end said: “If the fan zone at Glasgow Green can serve 6,000 people a day for a month, given that not that many fans are going to travel Glasgow from elsewhere just to watch a game on a big screen, the hospitality industry in the Glasgow area will be losing 6,000 potential customers a day.

Glasgow Times:

“These are businesses that pay business rates and licence fees to Glasgow City Council and serve the people of Glasgow 365 days a year yet we have been forced to close for the best part of a year and now the Scottish Government is approving an idea which will rob us of a chance to claw back a tiny amount of what we have lost.”

READ MORE: Glasgow reacts as city kept in level 3 Covid restrictions

David Maguire, owner of 1051 GWR in Great Western Road in the city, said: “Noting the statement regarding the fragility of our recovery, the idea that the city should continue to plan to host a month-long party for 6,000 people daily is absurd.
Glasgow Times:
“Highly experienced operators already wrestle with mandatory table service within existing beer gardens in Glasgow so the suggestion that 6,000 people whose purpose is to drink significant amounts of beer will be managed in a way that complies with one-metre physical distancing via table service is dangerously naive and negligent.

Others said their industry was being wrongly penalised for rising cases.
Mhairi Taylor, owner of Ziques and Bakery by Ziques, said: "Today's announcement is disappointing but not surprising. We had hoped there would be more weight towards the impact on Glasgow's businesses and hospitality in the decision, but the wait continues.

Glasgow Times:

"People think the only impact of restrictions is not being able to serve alcohol indoors - but it runs deeper than that. Having to close indoors at 8pm means we can't have a meaningful dinner service. We have invested heavily in changing the focus of our business to make it more suitable for evening dining - and this ongoing situation means we cannot get going properly.

"Hospitality has bent over backwards to meet every requirement laid down, and it seems incredible to me that we continue to be penalised by these restrictions - hospitality is not to blame. I had hoped for some form of concession in today's announcement to allow us to open indoors for longer at the very least. I am aware of calls for greater levels of financial support and I would appeal to the Scottish Government to take action – the situation as it stands cannot continue without it."

Paul Waterson, media spokesman for the Sctottish Licensed Trade Association, said: “That we will get a definitive decision next Wednesday on whether premises can move down to Level Two is good as it gives them a bit more time to get organised and we thank the Scottish Government for listening to our concerns about always being told what’s happening at the last minute.
Glasgow Times:
“However, it’s bittersweet for the many pubs, bars and other licensed hospitality businesses who are still in limbo and missing out on the May bank holiday weekend trading that so many operators had hoped for and with the weather forecast promising sunshine.
“The First Minister, during today’s briefing, told Glasgow ‘don’t lose heart’ but these are pretty hollow words as the impact of staying in Level Three has a much wider impact for Scotland and the country’s tourism industry. The Government must also ensure that adequate financial support is in place.”
Business leaders said it is worse with the holiday weekend an opportunity to recoup some lost trade.

Andrew McRae Small Businesses Scotland Policy Chair, said: “Glasgow businesses are getting used to these weekly Friday disappointments.  This one is all the more galling because it looks like Monday will see Glasgow basking in the sort of gloriously sunny Bank Holiday that could have helped small hospitality operators recoup some of their losses.

“The First Minister did suggest there might be light at the end of the tunnel next week – and breaking the Friday-for-Monday announcement cycle will give business owners a little more notice.  It’s very difficult to run a business, or plan your family finances, when you need to tune into the lunchtime news on a Friday to find out if you’ll be working on the Monday.

“The businesses and employees hardest hit by these ongoing restrictions need proper support now.  The Glasgow hospitality industry was given two days to scrap their re-opening plans.  But even now, after two weeks, we still don’t have adequate financial support measures in place.  That needs remedied as a matter of urgency.”

While Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “There were many anxious businesses across Scotland waiting to hear the decision of the First Minister today, with Glasgow’s consumer reach extending across Scotland with thousands of day visitors and tourists. The impact of this extended closure will be even more devastating for crisis hit businesses in Glasgow, as many were looking forward to opening their doors to take advantage of the upcoming bank holiday on Monday.

“We need government at both Holyrood and Westminster to now step in to provide a level of meaningful financial support if we are to save jobs and livelihoods.”