NEW coronavirus restrictions imposed in Scotland will “sound the death knell” for some in the hospitality sector, business leaders have warned.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes are being barred from selling alcohol indoors in an effort to stall a coronavirus rise. They can open indoors between 6am and 6pm to sell food and soft drinks, but will be able to sell alcohol for outside areas until 10pm.

The changes come into force at 6pm tomorrow and are expected to last until October 25.

Pubs and licensed cafes in the central belt are to be takeaway only after 6pm.

Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “These measures will sound the death knell for businesses across the hospitality sector, especially pubs and bars.

“Restaurants and hotels, whilst remaining open, will also be constrained on what they can provide and this will place a large dent in their already reduced income.”

She said redundancies could rise as a result of the measures, and she criticised a “lack of consultation with business” before the restrictions were announced.

Stephen Montgomery, of the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: “The First Minister has effectively signed a death sentence for many businesses across the Scottish hospitality industry, while the real problem is socialising at home.”

He said the industry is “part of the solution to combat this virus, not part of the problem” and added that the “latest blow from the Scottish Government will create fear and anger across our industry” and have a “catastrophic” economic cost.

The Food and Drink Federation Scotland said it is “extremely disappointed” with restrictions, while Scotland Food & Drink called them a “hammer blow”.

Announcing the restrictions in Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I know that the measures we are proposing today, although they are temporary, will have a significant impact on many businesses and I am sorry for that.”

She also announced an additional £40 million to support businesses that will be affected by the new temporary measures and said the Scottish Government will discuss with businesses how to mitigate employers’ contributions to the UK Government’s job retention scheme.