SRC Briefing on Local Shop Closures

This afternoon Nicola Sturgeon announced the outcome of the Scottish Government’s review of the Covid strategic framework.  The Scottish Government has decided 11 local authorities will go into Level 4, two will drop from Level 3 to Level 2, and 19 will stay at the same level.

The Local Authorities moving into Level 4 are: City of Glasgow, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian. They will go into level 4 on Friday at 6pm

In Level 4 non-essential retailers (as specified in The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 ) must close; broadly the restrictions replicate the lockdown from earlier this year, with the exception that education remains open. They will remain in Level 4 lockdown until the 11th of December.

The Local Authorities remaining in Level 3 are: City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Fife, Perth & Kinross and Angus

The Local Authorities remaining in Level 2 are: Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, the Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, and Argyll & Bute

East Lothian and Midlothian will move into Level 2 next Tuesday

The Local Authorities remaining in Level 1 are: Orkney, Shetland, the Western Isles, Moray and the Highlands will remain in level 1.

From Friday the guidance on non-essential travel from a Level 3 or 4 will become legislation. That means people living in level 3 or level 4 must not travel outside their own council area, except for certain essential purposes, and people living elsewhere in Scotland must not travel to level 3 or level 4 areas, except for essential purposes.

The First Minister has announced a four weekly grant of £2,000 or £3,000, depending on rateable value for businesses forced to close, grants of £1,400 or £2,100 are available to businesses that are open, but subject to trading restrictions. Eligible businesses can apply for these grants now through their local authorities. She also announced the government are establishing a £30 million discretionary fund to enable local authorities to provide additional support for businesses.

SRC Media Comment

The SRC has issued the below media release, and will be speaking on BBC tv and radio this afternoon and evening.

Store closure plan a “hammer blow” to Scottish Retail

Today, 17th November 2020, the First Minister has announced 11 Local Authorities in Scotland are to be placed into Level 4 of the Covid Strategic Framework from 6pm on Friday. This will see so-called non-essential shops in these council areas shuttered for three weeks, during what is traditionally the key trading period of the year for many.

The SRC estimates this will affect over 45 percent of non-essential shops in Scotland, and those shops will lose out on over £90 million per week in lost revenue whilst they are closed.

Non-essential shops were shuttered for 14 weeks in the Spring to help the fight against the pandemic and shuttered 16 weeks for those within shopping centres and malls.

SRC data shows that over recent months non-food stores are consistently trading about a fifth down on last year.

The SRC has consistently explained shops have taken every mitigation possible to keep customers and staff safe. A recent SAGE paper explained the closure of non-essential retail would only have a “very minimal impact on R values”.

David Lonsdale, Director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said:

“Many Scottish shops face a bitter winter following this deeply disappointing announcement on store closures. There is little evidence shuttering shops does much to suppress the spread of Covid, but it's undeniable closing high street stores in November and into December during the critical Christmas trading period is a hammer-blow to hard-pressed retailers. This is the worst possible time to close these stores, who often need a strong end to the year to tide them over the lean winter period. These shops are set to miss out on over £90 million of lost sales each week, following eight months of declining sales. The blunt reality is the offer of grant support won't make up those lost sales – we can only hope those shops forced to close can weather the next few weeks.”


If Members have queries please let me know and we’ll either answer or pass on the questions to Scottish Government officials.