Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has called on the Scottish Government to provide clearer and more precise guidance for tourism businesses if the sector is allowed to reopen from 15 July.
The Scottish Government published its guidance for businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector on 18 June. However, Mr McArthur has highlighted that parts of the guidance appear contradictory and vague, particularly in relation to advice for accommodation providers if a guest develops symptoms of Covid-19.
Orkney’s MSP has raised the issue with both the Tourism Secretary and Islands Minister during calls this week and has also lodged parliamentary questions to seek clarity on when more precise guidance will be published to help businesses to prepare to reopen safely.
Mr McArthur commented:
“The anticipated reopening of the tourism sector next month has offered some light at the end of the tunnel for many small businesses in Orkney. Accommodation providers, including self-caterers and B&Bs, have already taken bookings in advance and have begun preparations accordingly.
“The sector, though, will be aware of a need for a cautious approach to reopening, and businesses are therefore looking for clear guidance and rules that they can follow to make their premises safe for both guests and staff.
“Unfortunately, the recent guidance published by the Scottish Government provides little of the clarity needed. For example, there is no specific recommendations for what businesses should do to keep toilet facilities safe or any guidance for what to do if a guest has symptoms of Covid-19.
“Businesses need to be confident they know what to do in managing risks and the public must feel confident that those risks are being managed. Neither will be possible without clear guidance.
“There is still time to get the detail of that guidance right, but businesses will need time to put measures in place. It is essential, therefore, that Ministers act urgently and issue more comprehensive guidance to support a re-opening of the tourism sector that is as safe and successful as possible.”