What the latest Covid protection restrictions in Scotland mean for you and your business.

As the new rules come into force, darker winter days lie ahead for certain areas of Scotland as those restrictions have a significant impact on the operation of hospitality, leisure and retail businesses.

This three-minute read will cover questions you may have on how these new restrictions will impact you and your business.

Click here for Covid-19 restrictions guidance note for hospitality, leisure and retail businesses.

Two sets of regulations have been published which will come into force from 6pm on Friday 20 November and from 6am on 24 November 2020.

The first set of Regulations bring in substantial legal restrictions, notably the implementation of travel restrictions and the required closure of certain businesses in the Level 4 tier of the protection levels.

These restrictions make travelling outside of your local authority, without a reasonable excuse, a criminal offence. The non-exhaustive list of reasonable excuses given in the Regulations has raised questions. It includes, but is not limited to, travelling for:

  • work purposes (provided you cannot work at home),
  • moving house or dealing with rental property,
  • essential shopping, health care, and education purposes.

Outwith the guidance there are exceptions for the continued operation of construction and manufacturing businesses.

These restrictions will have a significant impact on the hospitality industry either forcing hotels to close or face the difficult decision of rejecting customers from outside of their local authority.

Customers who breach the Regulations will find that Police Scotland can impose a penalty notice and fine. Environmental Health teams will continue to carry out spot checks to ensure the Regulations are being followed.

What should you do right now?

Ensure you comply with the current guidance for your sector and implement measures to ensure adherence to the latest Regulations.

Businesses should make sure when taking reservations that customers are aware of the travel restrictions and that you cannot accept any bookings unless it is for a reasonable exemption under the Regulations.

Consider the reputational risk of not implementing the necessary measures to ensure compliance with the new restrictions.

Next Steps

These Regulations are scheduled to end on Friday 11 December 2020, and it is difficult for any business to anticipate what is on the horizon after that date.

Our property experts at Burness Paull will continue to keep you on the right side of the ever-moving line – and with news of the success of the vaccine trials, we can hopefully look to brighter times ahead.

How can we help?

This note is provided for your assistance in these unprecedented and fast-moving times.

It does not constitute legal advice and it is provided on the basis that it does not create any duty of care or liability on our part.

If you require specific advice, please get in touch and one of our experts will support you.