The First Minister said that the predicted wave of Omicron cases was rapidly developing and now accounts for 80% of all cases. Over the past week the number of reported cases of Covid has increased by 47% and it is reasonable to assume a steep increase in cases will be seen in the days and weeks ahead.
The First Minister also gave a breakdown of how £107 million is being allocated to support businesses impacted by the spread of the Omicron variant. The funding, which follows an initial £100 million lifeline package, means the Scottish Government has now allocated £207 million of the £375 million committed to business support. Following discussions with stakeholders, this latest package is targeted at the most affected sectors and payments will start in the new year.
The support package is broken down into:
· £32 million more for hospitality and leisure businesses
· £10 million targeting parts of the hospitality industry most severely affected by requirement for table service
· £5 million targeted support for nightclubs now required to close
· £27 million for culture, due to impact of physical distancing and caps on attendance
· £17 million for events, due to impact of physical distancing and caps on attendance
· £16 million for existing public transport Covid support schemes to recognise impact on fare revenue
Final details of the funding available for each sector is being determined in discussion with business and sector organisations and will be published as soon as possible.
Hospitality businesses will be contacted by their local authority to access top up funding through the December and January Business Top Up. Self-catering and B&B providers are not eligible for this Top Up.