Two pubs have announced they are shutting up shop until the government’s “ridiculous” booze ban is lifted.
New restrictions announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon yesterday in a bid to slow down rising cases of Covid-19 come into effect on Friday.
Licensed pubs and restaurants across Tayside will not be allowed to serve alcohol indoors and must shut at 6pm.
Hospitality venues will still be able to serve alcohol outside until 10pm, but the existing rule of six restrictions still apply.
The measures will apply until October 26, but that date could be subject to change.
Wayne O’Hare, owner of the Bowbridge Bar in the Hilltown, said: “It’s like having an ice cream parlour which can’t serve ice cream.
“I wonder if, with her £100,000 a year salary, how much is Nicola Sturgeon giving up? We’re all struggling, we can’t pay rent or anything like that. Is she struggling?
“If what they’re saying about these rules are right, then we’re going to be shut. We’re going to put the boards over the windows and shut up shop.
“If you don’t have a beer garden, you can’t sell alcohol. It’s outrageous, it’s ridiculous. I can’t believe that they all got together and sat around a table and this is the best that they could come up with.”
Owner of Doc Ferry’s pub in Broughty Ferry, David Glass, said: “If it wasn’t so serious, if it wasn’t people’s jobs and livelihoods on the line, it would be laughable, that’s where I stand in all of this.
“We’ve already made the decision that, although we do food and other things, we will not be open for the next two weeks.
“My main issue and focus right now is to get my staff back on the 60% furlough scheme that’s running.
“It’s just mental, I feel like we’re no further forward than we were three months ago. I’m not saying I necessarily have the answer, but this certainly isn’t it.”
Kate Fraser, licensee of the Ambassador Bar, said hospitality operators were being “hit hard” yet again.
“All I can say is at least we have a good beer garden, I mean what’s the point of a pub which can’t sell alcohol? It’s ridiculous, it’s just ludicrous, ” she said.
“I get why Nicola Sturgeon is doing it, but in my opinion it’s not going to make a difference.”
In her address to Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon warned that without decisive action Scotland would see cases rise by the end of this month to levels seen during the first wave of the pandemic.
The First Minister announced £40m of funding will be spent on supporting affected businesses and acknowledged how “tough” the new rules were for the hospitality sector.
“But the evidence paper published today sets out why these settings pose a particular risk,” she added.
“The R number appears to have risen above one approximately three weeks after the hospitality sector opened up and we know more than one-fifth of people contacted by test and protect having visited a hospitality setting.”
‘We will need to adapt to the new restrictions’
Restaurants also face having to make changes in their venues, as new restrictions mean no boozer will be permitted on site.
Closing times will also be brought forward in a hope it can help curb the spread of Covid-19.
Patric Lochi, owner of Don Michele Italian Restaurant, on Perth Road, said he supported the decision and will “need to adapt” to make it work.
He said: “I feel sorry for the pubs, at least we can still offer food and coffee but I understand why she did it, for the safety of everyone.
“We have been hit again to a certain degree but we need to do whatever we can to save people and I think it is the best way forward.”
He said that the ban on serving alcohol was “not very good” for business.
“We don’t really make much on the food, it’s the alcohol where we make the most money.”
Hasan Al Mamun, manger at Dil’Se, Perth Road, said he also supported the decision, so long as it only lasts for 16 days.
He said: “We’re not complaining against the government, she’s doing it for the good of the country, to make the country safer.
“We’re doing well with takeaways so we will be ok, but if it goes on longer than that then it will have a big impact.”
‘Pubs are being messed about’
Dundee resident Graeme Stephen doubted whether the 6pm curfew would make a difference.
“If it is that bad then shut them down rather than messing about with the bar industry,” he said.
“Bars are having to change their hours and shift patterns constantly because of these tweaks.”
However, Kerry Stephen said she could understand why pubs were a focus for the government.
“Some of it has been coming from bars because people have too much to drink and then they forget about hand hygiene and social distancing, so maybe it is a good thing,” she said.
“It is a bit contradictory and people are getting fed up, but I saw this coming – as long as it is not a full lockdown.
“I’m just not happy I can’t get to see my mum at the house.”
Nigel Woodman said: “It is inconvenient, but if it saves lives, then it saves lives but the economy will be down the drain.
“I have a heart condition and I wear my mask all the time, but if you are going to die then you are going to die.
“I am surprised at how many people are scared, and I know it is a scary thing but what can you do.”
‘We will need to adapt to the new restrictions’
‘We will see this through’
Today, management at The Vault in Reform Street, Monifieth, also announced they would be closing – only temporarily, however.
In a statement, the bosses said: “As of 6pm on Friday October 9, we will be closing for 16 days.
“It breaks my heart but it will not break my determination to see this through. I care deeply about my staff, my customers, my community, and my business; it has never been about the money for me, as most of you are very aware.
“I am so very grateful for the amazing level of support we have been shown throughout this very difficult time and I thank you all for that very much.”
The statement said the pub will be open today (Thursday) until 10pm as usual, and Friday, 11am to 6pm.
The statement concluded: “It would be lovely to see you before our enforced two-week holiday and we will be back at 11 am on Monday October 26, ready to welcome you “home”.
“We will see this through.”