On December 21, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a range of rules were being introduced that would thwart New Year’s celebrations in a desperate attempt to curb the rapid spread of the Omicron variant. It saw a limit of 100 people at indoor standing events, up to 200 people at indoor seated events and up to 500 people, either seated or standing, at outdoor events. Pubs, restaurants and other outdoor public settings were also once again slapped with heavy restrictions.
At pubs, restaurants and other outdoor public settings, only table service was allowed where alcohol was served, while indoor hospitality and leisure venues had to ensure a one-metre social distance between different groups.
There could be no more than three households in any one group of people. Nightclubs also had to close, although they could remain open provided they operated as a pub with table service and distancing.
But the huge economic impact from those restrictions has been brutally laid bare, costing the crucial hospitality and business sectors tens of millions of pounds.
Karl Thompson, an economist for the Centre for Economics and Business Research, told Express.co.uk: “Using projected turnover data by industry, we expect that the regulations on table service will have cost the Scottish hospitality industry £6million in the first 17 days of January, with the closure of nightclubs implying a further £5.4million loss.
“These costs come on top of a hit to the sector of an estimated £28million as a result of in Omicron-driven cautiousness so far this month.
“Meanwhile, the capacity limits set for certain events is estimated to have cost Scottish businesses £4.5million in turnover so far this month, on top of a £13.4million Omicron hit.
“While we expect that the Omicron hit in Scotland has been broadly proportional to that seen across the UK, these additional costs are clearly specific to the nation.
“For reference, total Scottish business turnover is roughly £19billion per month.”