Hospitality company launches loan scheme for staff affected by Covid crisis

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A Scottish hospitality company has launched an interest-free loan to help staff left out by a drop in revelers celebrating the festive season after coronavirus restrictions were introduced.

Signature Group, which employs 580 people at its 20 Scottish sites, will offer loans of up to £500 to its hourly-paid employees after the sector was hit by rules at what would normally be its busiest time of the year.

Louise MacLean, business development director for the Edinburgh-based company, said: “January is never an easy month financially and we recognize that January 2022 is going to be particularly challenging following a December where, during many hours, pay and tip did not reach previous years levels due to Covid restrictions.

Edinburgh’s Hogmanay street party has been cancelled, with many staying home to celebrate instead (Jane Barlow/PA)

(PA wire)

The company, which runs venues such as the Cold Town House in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket and The Spiritualist in Glasgow, said staff hours had taken a hit due to the restrictions, with wages and tips corresponding for many.

Ms MacLean said: “We hope this new initiative will help support those who need it most during one of the toughest times for our industry.”

While pubs have been able to open, social distancing requirements introduced on Boxing Day by Prime Minister Nicola Sturgeon have drastically limited the number of people allowed inside venues.

Pubs and other venues serving alcohol are required to offer table service only and ensure a distance of one meter between groups of guests.

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