Short-term Covid restrictions could have long-term impacts on rural Scotland 

Press Release

New short-term changes to curb the rise in Covid-19 infections could lead to considerable job losses and businesses becoming unviable unless the right support is provided, says Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), the organsiation representing rural businesses and landowners. 

Following on from today’s announcement of new restrictions taking force nationwide from Friday 09 October, SLE has said that these new restrictions will not just impact the hospitality sector but could also lead to other jobs and businesses throughout rural Scotland becoming unviable as visitor numbers drop significantly.  

Speaking after the changes were announced, SLE Chief Executive, Sarah-Jane Laing, said:

“These new restrictions are going to cause considerable harm to jobs and businesses throughout rural Scotland. By advising everyone in Scotland’s central belt not to travel, where most of Scotland’s population live, we are going to see a sharp decline in domestic tourism throughout rural Scotland. And for those who can travel, not being able to go out for an evening meal or visit a local bar will be a major factor in holidays being cancelled.

“A support package has been announced for businesses who are going to be forced to close their doors because of these new restrictions, but what isn’t clear is how the Scottish Government will support the numerous other jobs and businesses who rely on rural tourism and will be affected by these changes. 

“Without the right support, we could see significant job losses and businesses being closed throughout Scotland, which in turn would cause considerable social and economic harm to rural communities. 

“We would like the Scottish Government to commit to supporting all businesses who are impacted by these new short-term restrictions, whether that be directly or indirectly. 

“Difficult decisions must be taken in order to protect the population from this pandemic, but as the First Minister said in her speech to Parliament earlier, we must find the right balance to make sure that Scotland can emerge from this crisis with as little harm to our population as possible, both in terms of health and wellbeing and in terms of jobs and our society.”