Businesses face further lockdown restrictions in Scotland

Businesses in Scotland face further tightening of lockdown trading restrictions following an announcement by the Scottish government today. The new measures - which come into effect from Saturday 16 January - prevent shops offering non-essential 'click and collect' services, while takeaways will be banned from allowing customers inside the building.

Only essential goods will be permitted for click and collect, including clothes, shoes, baby equipment, books and homeware. In these cases, shops will be required to stagger collection times by offering appointments.

Other measures announced include restrictions on builders or plumbers working on non-essential tasks. These are already set out in guidance but will be clarified in law to address potential loopholes as part of a wider attempt to emphasis the 'stay at home' message.

The unexpected announcement comes a day after Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon revealed that the total number of deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid-19 in Scotland had passed 5,000.

The CBI in Scotland expressed concerned at the impact on firms in the country of these latest new rules. Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “Following the first minister’s announcement, businesses have a clear responsibility to help all employees who can work from home to do so. Firms have worked relentlessly to keep their shops, offices and factories Covid secure. Click and collect is a lifeline to many businesses, particularly smaller firms, as one of their few remaining revenue streams. When well organised, click and collect services instinctively feel like a safe way for firms to keep trading.

“Of course, firms can choose to suspend click and collect if that makes sense for them, but for many others it could mean the difference between business survival or not.

“It’s really important that the Scottish Government sets out compelling evidence that these services are a source of transmission and provides additional, urgent support to compensate for what would be a further loss of revenue in increasingly challenging times.”

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