16th November 2021
Speaking about today’s announcement, Trudy Morris, Chief Executive of Caithness Chamber of Commerce, said:
“Businesses across the North Highlands will have breathed a sigh of relief at today’s announcement by the First Minister that COVID-19 restrictions will not be extended. The current restrictions continue to prove extremely burdensome for businesses across many sectors and evidence from snap polling by Scottish Chambers of Commerce shows that almost 25% would face immediate financial peril should any extension be put in place.
“It is vital that Scottish Government communicates and consults closely with business communities over the coming weeks. As those on whom the burden of restrictions will fall most harshly, business owners need to have their voices heard as part of the decision-making process. We also need Scottish Government to communicate clearly and early on any future changes to regulations to ensure that businesses have plenty of time to prepare.
“The COVID-19 Ventilation Fund is a prime example of where Scottish Government could do better in its communications with business. Today’s announcement by the First Minister of specific types of business which can apply is the first confirmation any of us have had of the potential scope of this Fund. Given that it opens for applications next week – the first we have heard on timings also – that gives businesses very little time to prepare an application at what is for many the busiest time of the year.
“Finally, we were deeply concerned to hear that the Scottish Government continues to consider expanding the vaccine passport scheme to a wider range of hospitality venues. The festive period is crucial to the success and survival of these businesses and introducing additional restrictions at this time could sound the death knell for those who are already struggling to recover from the impact of previous measures. If any such expansion of the scheme is put into force, it must come with a substantial package of support for those businesses most affected.”