CARTER BAR, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been processed with digital filters) A Scottish Saltire flag flies on the border with England on September 14, 2014 in Carter Bar, Scotland. The latest polls in Scotland's independence referendum put the No campaign back in the lead, the first time they have gained ground on the Yes campaign since the start of August. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

As the Scottish first minister announced a series of new Covid-19 restrictions which will come into force this weekend, the Scottish Retail Consortium’s director has criticised the decision.

The new Scottish restrictions, which include reimposing the 2-metre rule on customers entering Scotland’s 22,000 shops and reduced trading hours for retailers who operate cafes, coffee shops, food courts and restaurants, were announced this afternoon in Holyrood.

David Lonsdale, Scottish Retail Consortium Director, particularly criticised the short notice of the measures.

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In a statement published on the BRC’s website, he explained: “Retailers have worked incredibly hard and responsibly to keep customers and staff safe throughout the pandemic, investing tens of millions of pounds on safety measures including plexiglass screens, social distancing and hygiene.

“They will strive to implement these latest changes too, albeit they are being asked to do so once again at absurdly short notice. Many will be baffled as to the justification for these new 2 metre restrictions on stores in the absence of any evidence which shows shops are a source of infection.”

He concluded: “The impact of these latest restrictions on consumer confidence and our high streets remains to be seen, particularly in the run up to the critical Christmas trading period. More broadly we remain very concerned at the manner and detail of this announcement. Firms have been dealing with months of constantly changing regulations and guidance.

“We urgently need a more strategic and coherent approach which allows firms sufficient time to understand the regulations and their obligations, and to operationalise them. The current approach falls well short of what is required.”