18th January 2022

Commenting on the First Minister’s Covid-19 update, Dr Liz Cameron, Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said:

“The removal of the operating limits placed upon the hospitality, retail and evening economy is good news and will be welcomed by many businesses. With these restrictions lifting from 24th January, these sectors will finally be able to reopen fully and work to rebuild confidence after what has been a bleak winter.

“It will come as a relief for many hospitality and licensed premises that the government have chosen not to extend the vaccine passport scheme at this time. To do so would burden these businesses with further costs at a time when they simply cannot afford them and place jobs at risk. Any potential extension to the scheme must come with immediate financial support and be properly evidenced.

“However, it remains a great disappointment that the Scottish Government did not see fit to remove other remaining economic restrictions at this stage. We again urge the government to pick up the pace and work with the business community to devise a plan to allow the economy to fully reopen.”

On home working:

“Today’s update did not see any clear indication of an end date for the requirements around home working. This will confuse and frustrate businesses, particularly those in our town and city centres who rely upon the flow of office workers for income. Businesses are reporting that this inflexibility is having a growing consequence for the productivity and wellbeing of their staff.

“The government have indicated that they will engage with business on devising a hybrid approach from the beginning of February. Many businesses have already adopted hybrid approaches, in partnership with their employees, and simply await confirmation from the government that they can proceed on these return-to-work plans.

“We urge the government to remove the shackles from offices as urgently as possible to provide real choice for employers and employees. We cannot delay the removal of these restrictions any further.”

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