Breweries call for Omicron support

HELLO and welcome to the PM Business Briefing, as breweries have called for support amid tightening restrictions on hospitality and socialising to help tackle the Omicron variant.

Scotland’s traditional Hogmanay celebrations are to be cancelled and live sports will be “effectively spectator-free” for three weeks from Boxing Day as part of new Covid-19 restrictions, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.

The First Minister also introduced new curbs on hospitality and urged people to “stay at home as much as possible” until at least the first week of January.

The Society of Independent Brewers’ chief executive James Calder said: “Scottish pubs have gone out of their way to make themselves Covid secure throughout this pandemic and are often lower risk venues than the inevitable house parties that people will flock to as new restrictions are introduced.

“Small brewers are reliant on community pubs for the vast majority of their sales and the slowly ratcheting up of Covid restrictions is having a devastating impact on their businesses during the critical Christmas period.”


He also said: “The re-introduction of table service and the use of online apps particularly impacts small brewers as they are rarely mentioned on menus or apps and people are indirectly discouraged from trying local craft beers.

“We hope that the Scottish Government will make funding available for small brewers during this difficult time with another round of the vital Brewers Support Fund as soon as practically possible.”

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said the measures will be “another hammer blow for employers and Scotland’s economy”.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “Businesses across Scotland, who have been doing everything they can to keep their employees and customers safe, will be bitterly disappointed by these further restrictions.”

Scots firm signs digital dentistry agreement

Glasgow-based Novosound has capped off a string of recent contract wins with a seven-figure agreement that will put its remote sensors into medical use for the first time.

The initial research and development component of the contract with dSound, a venture capital-backed company based in Israel, will be worth “in excess” of £1 million.

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