Galloway hoteliers are counting the cost of another Covid blow after new government guidance put a damper on Christmas celebrations.
Kirkcudbright businessman Chris Walker told the News he lost thousands of pounds worth of bookings after people were urged to cancel festive parties.
His phone started to ring on Thursday after Public Health Scotland advised people to defer work nights out due to the spread of the Omicron variant.
Mr Walker from The Selkirk Arms said: “I don’t think anybody was anticipating that sort of announcement which put the fear of God into everybody.
“We probably had about £7,000 worth of cancellations within that weekend.”
Further changes came on Tuesday when Ms Sturgeon advised people to limit social contact both before and after Christmas – and if they did meet other people, there should only be a maximum of three households.
Mr Walker added: “I think the announcement was very grey again and didn’t give clarity on any issue. It was all guidance and we’re just going to have to let the general public make a decision for themselves on whether they come out or they don’t.
“It’s put a bit of a downer on Christmas. I’m more worried for my staff and the hours they were hoping to get for Christmas are in jeopardy due to cancelled parties.
“Where we can’t give them hours we’ll give them holidays, but if it’s a continuing cycle of restrictions there does need to be some form of furlough or compensation put in place for the blow hospitality has to face again.”
At Castle Douglas, Ernespie House Hotel owner Shashank Chandra confirmed he had lost business.
He said: “I think the way it was done was completely wrong. There was no consultation and we did not see it coming.
“We have lost quite a lot of bookings – both local and from a distance.
“We have seen a drop in room occupancy and I suspect the phones will start ringing about New Year bookings too.
“Right now it just seems like a knee-jerk reaction to everything and that’s not good for business.”
At Crocketford, Galloway Hotel owner Paula Brand said: “At the moment numbers have reduced for some of our women’s rural parties.
She added: “For us there have been no cancellations as yet. I just hope they don’t shut us down for New Year. Mentally folk can’t keep on with this any longer.”