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Half of Scotland’s hospitality businesses and 90,000 jobs could be at risk if the country entered a second lockdown, a study has found.
The University of Edinburgh found one in four businesses would be likely to fold and that medium to large companies are ‘more sensitive’ to the shock of lockdown.
Young businesses are also ‘more vulnerable’ compared to established ones, it said.
The findings were contained in a report called The Perfect Storm: What is the impact of Covid-19 on the Scottish Hospitality Industry’.
It said that many analysts now believe that barring major improvements in Covid treatment to make the disease less dangerous, only a vaccine would allow economic activity to return to what it was before the pandemic.
It said: ‘Even once the economy starts to reopen, measures will likely be put in place
that curtail economic activity to some degree – travel will be less common, businesses will have to space workers and customers further apart, restaurants will be
serving fewer customers at a time, and sporting events, concerts, and other activities involving large crowds probably will remain off limits for a long time.’
The Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA) said the ‘small window’ of summer to draw domestic tourists to Scotland has now ‘closed’.
It said with international visitors currently at their ‘lowest ever level’ the industry faced ‘very dark days’ ahead.
‘Quite simply, with the loss of the international market, thousands of tourism businesses will be unable to survive until next summer and beyond without government support,’ said the STA.
‘Some areas of the sector have been able to get going over the last few weeks but bookings have started to tail off and the loss of the international market has dented and frustrated many hundreds of businesses to the degree that they’ll be unable to afford the hibernation costs until the inbound market resumes,’ it said.
‘The picture is stark; the reality is that a wave of tens of thousands of redundancies is on the very near horizon and without specific government intervention and support, we are in serious danger of losing what is one of the most important drivers for Scotland’s economy.’