Tom Kitchin on the plight of Scottish hospitality

By Joe Lutrario

- Last updated on GMT

Tom Kitchin chef restaurant reopenings Edinburgh Scotland

Related tags Tom kitchin Edinburgh Scotland Fine dining Pubs Coronavirus

Edinburgh-based chef restaurateur Tom Kitchin says he is deeply concerned about the Scottish hospitality industry, which is expected to re-open for eat-in no early than August.

Kitchin - who runs five venues in and around Edinburgh including the Michelin-starred The Kitchin - is on a panel liaising with the Scottish government about the implementation of safety regulations post lockdown.

"We're not here to say we're worse off than the rest of the UK," he says. "Everybody is hurting. But this is really damaging for Scotland and we need to think about how we are going to cope. Edinburgh is not London. We don't have that incredible footfall all year long."

Kitchin says the loss of this year's tourist season will be hugely damaging, especially the Edinburgh festival, which brings billions into the city each year.

"We're a bit behind England so we're looking at August. Then we're going to have social distancing and then we're into dreary autumn, then Christmas. Meanwhile the bills are mounting. It's bleak. It's all very well having an opening date but if they're going to open to make a loss... that's where the problem is."

Kitchin says that domestic tourism might help a bit, but that's unlikely to make up for international tourists.

"This is without doubt the most challenging period of myself and my wife's lives," he says. "There have been a lot of highs and so many lows. One the one hand it's incredible to be at home with the kids. But we also have that emptiness when we're thinking about the future of our restaurants and our people." 

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