Nicola Sturgeon’s last-minute U-turn on Glasgow’s liberation will cost the hotel industry £ 1million a day, he has been warned.
Hundreds of pubs and restaurants devastated by months of forced shutdowns were preparing to open tomorrow.
But industry executives remained furious after the Prime Minister announced on Friday evening that the removal of Level 3 restrictions in Scotland’s largest city had been overturned.
It came after an increase in cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 in southern Glasgow and also in Moray, where stricter measures will remain in place.
Opposition politicians have demanded emergency measures similar to those deployed in outbreak hot spots in England, where the military has been called in to increase vaccination and testing rates.
Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, has drawn strong criticism of the government following the late announcement.
He said: “Business owners have been devastated for over a year and this date in May was something they were waiting for. An apology for this late announcement, to be frank, is not enough.
“I have written to Economics Minister Fergus Ewing and Glasgow City Council to inquire about the postcode areas of those affected as complete confusion persists as to the extent of this extension.”
People are being asked not to enter and leave Glasgow and hotel companies which will now not be able to open inside for drinks have been offered compensation of just £ 750.
Montgomery added: “Hundreds of companies have bought shares which for an average bar will cost £ 6,000-10,000 and have hired staff so the £ 750 compensation offer is ludicrous.
“We have been asking for weeks whether Glasgow will definitively go down to level 3 and we have had no response. We wanted to be able to tell members to be careful about buying stocks, but we got nothing from the government.
“It didn’t come out of the blue, so why couldn’t we be kept in the loop? Making an announcement at 4:45 p.m. on a Friday didn’t give anyone a chance.
“It will easily cost Glasgow businesses over £ 1million a day and thousands of employees will no longer be working. This is before entering the supply chain, where there will be a ripple effect down the line.
“There is the financial cost but there is also a huge cost in terms of the mental health of business owners and workers.”
Glasgow club owner Donald MacLeod said: “I’m really pissed off – we all know Nicola Sturgeon and Jason Leitch are the most risk-averse people in the country, but it’s now beyond a joke. These people don’t understand business and they lose the trust of many people who once believed in them.
“No one wanted to fight with the Scottish government, but this late turnaround is going to cost jobs and entire businesses to lose.”
Families could face weeks at Level 3. Sturgeon warned that the increase in cases – with its “epicenter” in Pollokshields, Battlefield and Govanhill – is due to the Indian variant.
She said it could be “considerably more transmissible” than that found in Kent, leading to four months of Level 4 lockdowns starting on Boxing Day.
The SNP chief stressed that there was no evidence that it causes more serious illness or undermines vaccines.
In England, Boris Johnson has warned the easing of the lockdown could be affected by outbreaks, but declined to take action at this time.
Instead, the military is to be deployed to Bolton, Blackburn, and Darwen to help with mass testing and vaccinations.
Additional clinics will open from next week and the vaccination capacity of local pharmacies will also be increased. Mobile test units have been set up in Bolton and door-to-door PCR testing has been offered to 22,000 residents.
A rapid response team of 100 nurses, public health advisers and environmental health workers was also dispatched.
Opposition politicians in Scotland have called on Sturgeon to trigger similar emergency measures.
Shadow Scotland secretary Ian Murray said: “Every available resource must be used to contain the virus in the hot spots of Moray and Glasgow.
“With the news that the British government has deployed the military to help with surge tests and vaccinations in England, it is only fitting that the same resources are deployed here. “
Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross said: “We urgently need to step up the involvement of the armed forces and massively increase testing in areas where the virus is on the rise.”