Hogmanay restrictions: Some Falkirk business may not survive

Falkirk’s BID manager fears the new COVID-19 restrictions put in place for Hogmanay may have a disastrous knock on effect on the town’s traders.

By James Trimble
Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 1:20 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd December 2021, 1:20 pm

The restrictions, which saw large Hogmanay events cancelled, included Scottish pubs, clubs and restaurants once again returning to table service only from December 27 and a one-metre social distance rule between different groups also being put in force from this date.

Nightclubs also face a cap of no more than 100 people from Boxing Day onwards.

And, while First Minister Nicola Sturgeon did not announce a legal ban on household gatherings, she did urge people to minimise Hogmanay socialising “as much as they can”.

Falkirk town centre will be a quiet place this festive season

These restrictions will have an obvious impact on the hospitality trade, but other business will suffer as a result.

Elaine Grant, Falkirk BID manager, said: "There is so much uncertainty out there at the moment and I know some businesses are not going to survive. Hospitality businesses will be hardest hit, but there is a knock-on effect for other shops and traders, the taxi trade, butchers and more.

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“Due to events being cancelled you won’t have people buying their party outfits, or getting their hair and make up done and this hurts businesses like hairdressers that are not directly linked to the hospitality trade.

"And then you have the taxi drivers and firms, who will suffer because no one will out looking for a ride to and from venues or from the town centre. This is the feedback I’m getting from local businesses.

"We all feel for hospitality and how it is impacting them, but the other shops and businesses will be impacted. The takeaways will be hit because there won’t be people out socialising looking for something to eat before they go home in their taxis.

"I know local butchers have also had cancellations because families are not going to be gathering together as they would have normally.”

The BID manager said she had met with Falkirk MP John McNally to see if he could raise the issue of funding to help Falkirk businesses at Westminster.

She added local nightclubs like City and the Maniqui had events lined up for Hogmanay and these would be affected by the new restrictions.

Falkirk Delivers is doing its bit to help out – like it did last year – by operating a delivery service for local businesses to take their festive stock out to customers doors.

Details can be found on the Falkirk Delivers website and businesses that want to take advantage of the service can get in touch.

The restrictions were put in place to try and combat the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases due to the Omincron variant.

On Tuesday, the First Minister stated: “I know how unwelcome this will be for everyone - but we believe these precautionary steps will help us navigate a difficult period more safely.

"I am also acutely aware that these decisions - and the advice we are giving the public - have significant financial implications for many businesses."

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