A Dundee pub offering free tea, coffee and biscuits to vulnerable people to help combat loneliness has been forced to close under the latest government restrictions.
Police called time on Dexy’s Bar on Arbroath Road after visiting the premises last week.
The Arbroath Road hostelry said that while it was disappointed to be told to shut, it accepted the rules had been broken because meals were not being served.
The bar had only just announced it was opening three days a week to serve free teas, coffees and biscuits to help ensure local people were not isolated due to the pandemic.
Derrick Murdoch, from Dexy’s, said: “The two police officers were very sorry they had to be the bearers of bad news and showed real genuine concern for the lonely people who were using our service.
We just thought it would be nice to give people the chance to come out and get together for a little while over tea and biscuits.
Derrick Murdoch of Dexy’s
“We didn’t realise we were breaking the rules and the police had to go through the new rule book themselves to explain to me why I couldn’t be open for this service for the community.
“They said they sympathised with the loneliness issue and possible mental health problems the current situation is creating.”
Mr Murdoch added: “I genuinely didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.
“We just thought it would be nice to give people the chance to come out and get together for a little while over tea and biscuits.
“There is a mental health strain on everyone – young and old, rich or poor.
“There is no hiding place for anyone and we are all in the same boat.
“There is an enormous strain on the hospitality trade in Dundee and surely eventually that will actually put a strain on the government which will have to help the trade out financially.
“We at Dexy’s hold no grudges with the police for the action they have been forced to take.
“We will obviously adhere to this and hopefully things will improve in the next few weeks.”
Officers attended the premises prior to opening and relayed the current regulations, which staff were supportive of and adhered to.
Chief Inspector Ross Fitzgerald
Police Scotland Dundee Chief Inspector Ross Fitzgerald said: “The licensing team has been working with the local authority and businesses across Tayside to provide up-to-date advice and guidance on the restrictions.
“The current regulations prevent licensed premises in a Tier 3 area, which does not provide a main meal, from opening to customers.
“On Thursday November 5 officers attended the premises prior to opening and relayed the current regulations, which staff were supportive of and adhered to.
“We are also committed to identifying vulnerable people and working with partners to ensure that they receive support they may need,” he added.