Local Perth business owners say they are growing concerned for their livelihoods with the introduction of more Covid restrictions.
Social distancing has been reintroduced in a number of leisure and hospitality venues, while only table service is allowed in pubs.
With people advised to stay at home more than they normally would, there are fears there could be fewer people out spending during what is usually a profitable time of year.
‘You’ve just got to keep driving forward’
Clare Dunnery, owner of local skincare brand, Black Palm, said: “It’s a bit disappointing, but at least we can still do postal orders.
“We are hoping we can still grow through these challenging times.
“There’s always that fear, smaller businesses feel more vulnerable during times like these.
“But you’ve just got to keep driving forward and hope that people will keep supporting small and local, even if it means online only.”
Lack of government support
One-metre physical distancing has been reinstated in all hospitality and indoor leisure settings including pubs, restaurants, gyms, theatres and museums.
It comes after Nicola Sturgeon advised people to stay at home more often and defer Christmas parties in December.
Business owners say there has not been enough financial support to mitigate against the changes in Scotland.
Tricia Fox, co-owner of Mhor Coffee, said: “We understand the rules and can easily operate under them but they do impact on trade, for obvious reasons.
“When the restrictions were in place before there was both grant and furlough support, however currently there isn’t anything in place.
“The grant they have announced this week, won’t get paid until January and there’s no firm date for that happening.
“The key issue is one of cash flow and I suspect a lot of operators in this sector will be keeping a very keen eye on the cash coming in and going out daily.
“It’s causing so much unnecessary stress and worry for the whole sector.”
Only the UK Government’s treasury has the power to borrow extra cash and Ms Sturgeon has blamed Boris Johnson for failing to do so.
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak says ministers are listening to the devolved administrations and doing everything they can to support them during the pandemic.
A frustrating time ahead
He said: “It’s frustrating for both managers and employees. There’s not much guidance.
“We are really just trying to help out where we can, we are feeding those that can’t afford a Christmas meal, and these issues have kind of been sidelined.
“These things are still going on, and while this is hard for us, this is hard for everyone. We have to just all help each other out.”
What is the new guidance?
Nicola Sturgeon announced new rules on December 22. These rules came into place on December 26.
They have been introduced due to the rapidly spreading Omicron Covid variant.
From 5am on December 26 the new changes introduced were:
- Indoor standing events will be limited to 100 people
- Indoor seated events will be limited to 200 people
- All outdoor events, like football games, will be limited to 500 people
From 5am on December 27, some new rules affecting the hospitality and leisure industry were put in place, including the reintroduction of one metre social distancing.
This affects pubs, bars, restaurants, cafes and other settings where food and drink is served.