SCOTTISH Bakers, which represents the interests of bakery businesses in Scotland, has responded to Scottish Government’s announcement that businesses providing takeaway food will need to operate on a ‘non-entry’ basis only.
The association has stated, for the avoidance of doubt, that bakeries in Scotland whose primary function is the retail sales of baked goods can continue to trade as a vital part of the food retail sector during this time.
This means that bakers in Scotland are able to remain open and to trade at this time with no need to change their business models.
Bakery retail shops in Scotland have taken exceptional steps to make their bakery and retail premises COVID-safe for both staff and customers, these measures remain in place and the provision of freshly-crafted morning rolls, bread, pies and sweet treats is vital to the nutrition, health and well-being of the nation.
For some bakers, however, who are predominantly focused on the sale of hot food or sandwiches-to-go, rather than providing a wider range of produce, they will comply with the rules around customers not being able enter the premises when placing or collecting orders by serving customers at their premises doors.
It goes without saying that this will be done in a COVID-safe way but, since it may severely restrict footfall, bakers will have to weigh up their commitment to the communities they serve against the economic impacts of fewer customers being able to access their products.
Alasdair Smith, chief executive of Scottish Bakers said: “The situation with the poandemic is dynamic and we understand the desire of the Scottish Government to limit movement as far as possible.
“But these new restrictions will further damage revenue and, indeed, amongst our membership, we are already seeing many community bakers confirming that they will close for the duration of this restriction due to near impossible trading conditions it creates.
“This is beyond disappointing as our members have throughout this crisis shown great resilience and carried on baking and serving their communities safely and well since March. To see them struggle under these new conditions is a bitter blow.
“However, for bakeries who’s business is primarily the retail sales of baked goods, these businesses are able, within the law, to remain open and I would urge enforcement authorities including the police, regulators including Environmental Health and the public to recognise that this is the case.
“If your baker is open for business, it is because they are allowed to be open and they should be supported in their desire to support their customers through these trying times.
“Local, high street bakers also provide a vital lifeline to the communities they serve. Particularly in rural areas where, since March, local bakers have been providing home delivery and click-and-collect services, supplying a range of basic items alongside freshly-baked goods for the most needy and isolated. If these businesses cannot make ends meet by operating a ‘through the door’ service then communities will suffer.”
“Bakery businesses in Scotland employ some 12,000 people contributing revenues of around £1.3 billion to the economy. The bakery sector is the second largest contributor to Scotland’s food and drink economy after beverages.
Note 1: Scottish Bakers added its name to a letter to Scottish Ministers from the Scottish Retail Consortium, along with other representative bodies, on Monday and Tuesday on click-and-collect and on food takeaway respectively.
Note 2: Scottish Bakers has consistently explained that shops have taken every mitigation possible to keep customers and staff as safe as possible. Bakers have invested significantly in physical distancing and hygiene measures. Recent papers from public health advisers SAGE and their Welsh counterparts, the Technical Advisory Group, had explained the closure of shops has only have a “very minimal impact” on R values and reducing the transmission of the virus.
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