Many tourist businesses face the problem of cancelled bookings. Consumers are unable to travel due to the COVID-19 restrictions and many businesses are forced to temporarily close. These are uniquely difficult times for businesses, and we want to ensure that they are aware of all the options available to assist in these situations. We think that it is reasonable for businesses to make their customers aware of these options:
Emergency Regulations enacted to protect public health during the COVID-19 outbreak require many business premises to close during the emergency period. These include businesses consisting of the provision of holiday accommodation, whether in a hotel, hostel, bed and breakfast accommodation, holiday apartment, home, cottage or bungalow, campsite, caravan park or boarding house.
Accommodation providers are permitted to remain open in the following circumstances:
Providers should carry out checks to ensure that these circumstances are met before allowing their premises to open.
Enquiries can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org
Hand sanitiser products are in huge demand and some products are no longer available. Demand has led to some businesses (e.g. spirit distillers) diversifying into producing hand sanitising products. Products which are manufactured with the final intention of "destroying, deterring, rendering harmless, preventing the action of, or otherwise exerting a controlling effect on, any harmful organism" are currently controlled under the European Biocidal Products Regulations 2012 under a category defined as Product-type 1: Human hygiene. Biocidal products in this group are used for human hygiene purposes, applied on or in contact with human skin or scalps for the primary purpose of disinfecting the skin or scalp.
Trading Standards enforce these regulations in shops, but the current rules surrounding the manufacture and approval of these products need to be checked with the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).
The HSE has recently issued specific COVID-19 biocidal products advice to industry. Hand sanitisers made for your own personal use are excluded from the Regulation, however if it is supplied to third parties then the law applies, and advice should be sought from the HSE.
Soap-based or hand softener gels and creams with an antibacterial effect are regulated under cosmetic product regulations. Further advice has been issued by the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association.
Businesses who use ordinary (non-business) credit cards facilities may also benefit from the same protections even if it is in relation to items or services bought for the business.
Card users should speak to their provider if they wish to make a claim. If a business has a right to make a claim and this is not honoured by the card provider, small businesses may be able to raise this matter with the Financial Ombudsman Service - Small Business Complaint.
The Scottish Government has also issued general advice to businesses.
The Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) are hosting a series of short webinars on a variety of topics to help businesses prepare in these unprecedented times. Catch up on the latest SBRC webinars and find future webinars on their upcoming events (external link) page.