21st December 2021

The First Minister today announced some further COVID-19 restrictions which will come into force after Christmas Day, some of which will impact directly on businesses. Additionally, some initial guidance has been made available on the December and January Business Support Top Up for hospitality businesses.

First Minister’s Statement

You can read the full statement here and we have summarised the key points below:


  • No large public events from 26 December
  • Events to be limited to 100 standing indoors, 200 seated indoors, 500 standing or seated outdoors
  • 1m physical distancing in place at all events
  • Sports matches to be spectator-free for 3 weeks
  • Limits do not apply to life events such as weddings


  • Return to table service only from 27 December for venues serving alcohol for consumption on the premises
  • Indoor hospitality and leisure venues to ensure 1m social distancing between (but not within) groups
  • Continue to advise that no more than three households are represented per group

Business Support

An additional £175m from UK Government and a further £100m from Scottish Government has been allocated, to a total of £375m.

Guidance on the December and January Business Support Top Up has now been made available for hospitality businesses, This can be read in full here and we have summarised the core points below:


This funding is being provided in the form of a one-off grant at the following rates:

  • £4,500 for premises which have a rateable value of up to and including £51,000, or
  • £6,800 for premises have a rateable value of £51,001 or above

The rateable value of the property is considered to be as per local authority records at 1 November 2021. Individual ratepayers with more than one business may receive an award for each registered business entity.


This strand of funding will provide support to businesses in the hospitality sector who have lost crucial bookings during the key festive trading period where they are registered as one of the following:

  • public houses
  • restaurants
  • cafes
  • other licensed premises classed as hospitality
  • nightclubs
  • hotels with bars and restaurants

Awards will be granted based on the primary function of the business and on the determination of the local authority that a business meets the eligibility criteria.

The business must be actively trading, and be able to demonstrate they were trading at 8 December 2021. The business must have a Business Bank Account and must not have breached wider COVID regulations/requirements prior to local restrictions.


Local authorities will initially contact businesses that have previously received payments through the Strategic Framework Business Fund, and for the majority of businesses they will only need to confirm the following when contacted:

  • that they are still a registered business
  • that they were trading at 8 December 2021
  • that they wish to receive funding
  • that the details the local authority already holds is up to date

For new businesses set up since April 2021 which meet the other eligibility criteria, there will be a separate process. Further details will be confirmed in January, however the following core eligibility will apply:

  • the business must have physical premises
  • the business should be the main occupier
  • the business owner should be responsible for paying non domestic rates
  • the business was trading as an eligible business as at 8 December 2021

Other Sectors

Support will also be made available for other affected sectors and we expect guidance for these to be published shortly. For these sectors, grants will be administered by the following partners:

  • wedding sector supply chain – enterprise agencies
  • wholesalers affected by hospitality cancellations – Scottish Government
  • tourism sector – VisitScotland
  • culture sector – Creative Scotland
  • events sector – EventScotland

As always this is a fast-moving situation and additional guidance and clarity is being provided on a regular basis. As soon as we have further details our members will be the first to know. In the meantime, if you have any questions or need clarification on any of the existing guidance, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the Chamber.

Got a good news story you’d like to share? Get in touch with the Chamber today!

E: info@caithnesschamber.com
T: 01847 890076