Scottish election candidate Craig Hoy has today served one of the first post-lockdown pints in East Lothian.
As many businesses re-open their doors from the Covid-19 lockdown, Craig rolled up his sleeves at a pub in Haddington where he served the first drinks to regulars.
The Scottish Conservative and Unionist Candidate is calling on residents across East Lothian to support local shops, cafes and bars who have remained closed since Boxing Day and for most of the last year. Craig also says that all the public health data is pointing to a quicker easing of restrictions in order to protect vital local jobs and livelihoods.
The Scottish Conservatives have said venues should be able to serve alcohol indoors as of today and other restrictions due to be lifted on 17 May should have been lifted today, with the exception of rules on indoor mixing.
Commenting, Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate Craig Hoy said: “It is fantastic to see many of East Lothian’s businesses re-open their doors after months of having had the shutters down. Now more than ever we need to support our local shops, cafes and bars.
“The UK Government have stepped up at every turn to protect our businesses during our pandemic and I encourage everyone to support our wonderful hospitality operators and retailers.
“While we must continue to be cautious when it comes to public health, all the data points to easing restrictions more quickly in order to kickstart our economic recovery
“The vaccination programme has been an incredible success story across Scotland and the United Kingdom and is allowing us to re-open. However, we have repeatedly called for hospitality businesses to be allowed to serve alcohol with a meal, rather than waiting until the middle of May."
Hospitality groups have warned current restrictions mean many businesses will remain closed and they will continue struggling to earn a living.
Throughout the pandemic, businesses have voiced concerns about the SNP taking too long to release cash to companies and the government’s last-minute and shoddy guidance.
To tackle the problems caused by the SNP Government, the Scottish Conservatives have proposed the creation of a Covid Business Council and a 10-day turnaround guarantee on all business grants.
Craig said: “More than 18,000 East Lothian jobs have been protected thanks to UK Government support, but our local economy still faces major challenges and it cannot be allowed to stagnate under the SNP’s timetable.
“Throughout the pandemic, the SNP have failed to engage with businesses properly and have been slow to get funding out the door to them. The biggest threat to our recovery is Nicola Sturgeon’s threat to hold an independence referendum during our recovery phase.
“The only way to stop an SNP majority and get a Parliament 100% focussed on rebuilding Scotland is by voting for me in the constituency vote and for the Scottish Conservatives on your peach ballot paper on May 6.”