The Night Time Industries Association Scotland (NTIAS) said the sector is now “open in name only” and that the Scottish Government had created a crisis for the sector by allowing it to trade while telling its customers not to attend.

In Scotland, face masks are mandatory in all public indoor spaces, including hospitality and entertainment venues. Covid passes are required to enter indoor events with more than 500 people, unseated outdoor events with more than 4,000 people and any event with more than 10,000 people.

As of 6 December, a negative Covid test from either a lateral flow test or PCR has been included in the country’s Covid status passport scheme.

NTIAS said its members are reporting cancellations and reduced attendance to such a degree that many are questioning whether they can now keep trading. It said footfall since 9 December was down by 30%, while 50% or greater declines are predicted over the coming days. It said the knock-on effects are being felt across the supply chain, with staff hours and supplier orders being cut.

The organisation called on the Scottish Government to create a grant package to protect the employees and businesses affected.

NTIA Scotland vice chair Gavin Stevenson said, “Our sector has now seen a critical decline in festive season trade, resulting in a threat to the very survival of Scottish small businesses and 100,000 jobs. If the new Omicron variant threatens the NHS then of course our sector will again step up and play our part – but Government must also now step up and commit to ensuring business survival with immediate financial support that replaces lost festive season income on a pound for pound basis to protect jobs and businesses.”