A Perth nightclub owner has won his appeal to the Scottish Government for funding support, after being forced to close over New Year.
John Bryden has been given a five-figure sum from the government’s nightclub closure fund.
And that spells good news for the 30-strong staff team employed at The Loft, The Ice Factory and That Bar Lounge.
The venues are all hoping to bounce back from the impact of the pandemic.
Mr Bryden applied for support from December’s nightclub closure fund, but that was turned down.
At the time, the nightclub owner described it as “baffling” and a “bombshell”.
Successful appeal is ‘fantastic news’
However, Mr Bryden thanked the Scottish Government for approving five-figure compensation on appeal following the cancellation of sold-out Hogmanay parties.
The industry was also affected by the January closures triggered by the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Mr Bryden said: “It is fantastic news, coming hard on the heels of the removal of the need for vaccine passports.
“I’m delighted the review has been successful.
“We were being called a hybrid but I suspect there was a misunderstanding over the nature of businesses which have been an integral part of the Perth social scene for more than 20 years.
“We have endured a lot of anxiety over the last few weeks but now we are able to look forward with staff jobs secured.
“It was vital to get this lifeline payment as we look forward to Easter, when hopefully things will have returned to something like normal.”
A return to pre-Covid business in 25th year
Head of operations Craig Fraser is hopeful the nightclubs can return to pre-pandemic business.
“The industry has come through a very tough time over the last two years.
“I feel sorry for teenagers and the early 20s in particular,” he said.
“They have missed out on so much at an important time of their lives.
“Their freedom has been severely restricted. There is pent-up demand for getting out and about to events.”
Mr Fraser revealed That Bar Lounge had applied for planning consent to retain the covered area outside the South Street premises.
He said it has been vital to the business.
Mr Fraser said the business suffered “economic devastation” as a result of the lockdown-enforced closures.
“We are looking to extend the temporary permission which runs out later this month,” he explained.
“It is shaping up as a big year to mark our 25th anniversary.
“Hopefully the application will be successful as we prepare to welcome returning tourists as well as locals.”