The Scottish Government has today announced a further round of Covid restrictions, including the tightening of the definition of essential businesses and extending the lockdown on mainland Scotland until the end of January. It comes two weeks after the decision to put mainland Scotland into Level 4 lockdown and therefore close non-essential shops in these areas, and the subsequent move to compel homeware stores and garden centres to close.
Responding to the latest announcements, David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium
“We recognise the situation with the pandemic is fast moving and are behind the government’s efforts to get on top of the virus. Nonetheless these further restrictions are unsettling and come at an incredibly difficult time for the retail industry. Non-food retail as a whole has been thwacked hard by the onslaught of coronavirus, and even before the latest lockdown came into effect was trading almost a quarter down compared to the same period last year.
“Even when stores are eventually permitted to re-emerge from this enforced hibernation, it is likely many will continue to suffer from lower shopper footfall. Prior to the current lockdown footfall was down by a third. Whilst a return to trading is crucial, it will not be a panacea for the industry. That’s why we hope to see a recovery plan from government to get retail moving once again, including visibility on the route out of lockdown, early clarity over continued rates relief for the coming financial year, and short term stimulus to boost consumer confidence and spending once shops can re-open perhaps through a high street