A HOTEL chief is calling for the two-metre social-distancing rule to be dropped.

Stobo Castle chairman Stephen Winyard believes thousands of hospitality workers will be made redundant across the UK if the guidance continues unchanged.

Mr Winyard, 70, said: “The impact on the tourism sector will be horrendous in terms of jobs lost.”

Instead of the two-metre recommendation, Mr Winyard would like to see a one-metre rule introduced.

Tweeddale MP David Mundell has sympathised with the suggestion, agreeing that the guidance should be reviewed.

Mr Winyard, a director of the luxury Peeblesshire hotel, believes the example set by some other countries should be followed.

He points to the one-metre rule in France, as well as Germany’s 1.5-metre recommendation.

"The World Health Organisation (WHO) says one metre is safe,” said Mr Winyard. “We've gone to the most extreme [distancing measures] in the world."

He added: “A decision to halve social distancing will help to kickstart this sector’s recovery, save countless jobs and in following the WHO’s guidance on this subject, still allow our respective governments to discharge their sacred duty of safeguarding the public’s health.”

Asked to comment on Mr Winyard’s plea, Mr Mundell, of the Conservatives, said: "There appears to be a weight of evidence from a number of countries and organisations that one-metre distancing can strike a reasonable balance between safeguarding health and providing a practical way of working.

"Hospitality and tourism are amongst the most important employers in Tweeddale – and right across my constituency – and many jobs and businesses depend on workable safe solutions being established as soon as possible.

"It is vital that the Scottish Government reviews the two-metre rule to help ensure the sector is best placed to come out of lockdown providing a safe and appealing environment for both customers and staff."

Meanwhile, Tweeddale MSP Christine Grahame told the Peeblesshire News that she appreciates the difficulties posed by the two-metre rule, but she added that it exists for people’s safety.

The SNP member said: “The virus has not gone away and the margins for ensuring the virus does not take off again remain tight.

“The scientific advice has not changed and that is why the two-metre rule is in place, to protect everyone.

“I understand and sympathise greatly with the limitations this rule puts on many businesses but the priority must still be to protect everyone’s health.

“However, along with all the other measures, the two-metre rule is under constant review and any relaxation will happen if and when it is deemed safe to do so.

“We know the restrictions cause harms of their own, and they will not be kept in place for a moment longer than is necessary.”

Mr Winyard said he views the Scottish Government’s approach as “very cautious”.

But he added that he believes any reduction in social distancing would have to take into account Scotland's ‘R rate’ and the effectiveness of the track and trace programme.