Liz Cameron, Scottish Chambers of Commerce chief executive, said: “The removal of physical distancing requirements and changes to self-isolation rules will have a major positive impact on all businesses.
“This will enable us to increase capacity, whilst removing the massive pressures on staff being forced to self-isolate due to close contact guidance which has left many businesses unable to fully operate if at all.”
She said that many businesses believed that moving beyond the levels system would result in the removal of all restrictions, “however, some uncertainty remains as to mandating the continued use of face coverings in certain settings”.
Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said the move represented “continued progress for our industry towards a more normal trading environment”.
He said: “Further clarity around the definition of ‘high risk venues’ which may require Covid certification will need to be given over the coming days; it’s also hugely important that the legal requirement for wearing masks is placed on the consumer and not just the venue to enable businesses to maintain compliance and trade effectively without jeopardising licenses.”
Leon Thompson UKHospitality Scotland executive director, said “Today marks a hugely important moment for hospitality businesses across Scotland. Some of our businesses can, at long last, reopen their doors and welcome back customers. Many more can begin to look at increasing capacity with the end of physical distancing.
“However, it is not clear yet how the mandatory wearing of face coverings might continue to impact on venues where customers are likely to be standing, including in pubs and nightclubs.
“Businesses need more detail, along with a complete set of guidance from the Scottish Government – and they need it quickly.”
Colin Wilkinson, Scottish Licensed Trade Association managing director, said it was “the best news the licensed hospitality industry has had for over a year”.
He said: “It’s the news we’ve been waiting for and I’m sure there will be a few champagne corks popping to celebrate, at long last, a return to near normal trading.
“We are particularly relieved that physical distancing restrictions can be dropped as the one-metre rule made trading very difficult for some premises, particularly smaller ones – premises can now get back to operating at maximum capacity.
“However, while we understand why the Scottish Government wants to keep some mitigation measures in place, including the mandatory wearing of face coverings in some public spaces and a need for hospitality and indoor venues to continue to collect customer’s contact details, we hope that this is a short-term requirement.
Ewan MacDonald-Russell, Scottish Retail Consortium head of policy, said retailers will hope next week’s relaxation of Covid restrictions will spark a shopping recovery.
He said: “Removing restrictions such as physical distancing in shops and welcome changes on self-isolation rules, should simplify store operations. However, many retailers are likely to maintain some existing measures to keep customers and colleagues safe.”
Fiona Campbell, , chief executive of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers, said the sector has been “brutally impacted” by the pandemic.
She said: “We are not out of the woods yet and self-catering in Scotland still faces the very real threat posed by an impending restrictive licensing scheme that is certain to impinge on our ability to bounce back from this most difficult period.”
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