Local coffee shops and eateries have claimed an “unlevel playing field” has been created as a national chain continues to be allowed to serve food and drink indoors.
Rival businesses say the branch of Costa inside the Tesco Riverside store has not been forced to make customers wait outside, nor has it been required to operate a hatch in compliance with the latest lockdown measures.
Dale Elder, owner of the Bridgeview Station, and Grant Mulholland, proprietor of The Old Mill Kitchen and Coffee Shop have both questioned why they can’t operate under the same rules.
The pair say they have had to invest “significantly” in their businesses in order to continue trading.
Dale said: “We’ve questioned how Costa have been able to continue to operate in this fashion.
“It appears they are being compliant with the measures with them being situated within the supermarket.
“To me this has created an unlevel playing field – especially with the recent bad weather.
“If a customer can walk into the store and collect hot drinks and snacks why couldn’t other business in Dundee be permitted to do the same?”
He said independent traders felt there was “one rule for them one rule for us”.
Grant agreed. “It certainly isn’t a level playing field.,” he said. “We took a dent last week as people weren’t prepared to stand in the freezing conditions and wait, yet I could walk into Costa and pick it up.
“People are naturally going to opt to do that if the weather is bad from a consumer point-of-view.
“There should have been one rule across the board. To me it’s nonsense that people can’t come in to collect deliveries yet they can in Costa’s.”
A spokesman for Costa said the Riverside Tesco premises was trading in accordance with the current measures and was providing a valuable service to key workers and people on essential shopping trips.
He said: “In line with Scottish Government guidelines, the Costa Coffee store inside the Dundee Riverside Tesco continues to legally trade via mobile ordering and takeaway services from a dedicated service area at the front of the store.
“We have implemented strict measures to ensure we operate safely, including steps to ensure customers cannot enter our store, a queuing system with social distancing spots, hand-sanitiser stations and enhanced cleaning processes, as well as additional training and support for team members.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue to serve key workers and customers out on essential journeys and are grateful for the ongoing commitment of our store teams, who continue to work during very challenging times.”
A spokesman for Dundee City Council said it was continuing to work closely with all businesses in order to ensure they observe the terms of the national lockdown measures.
He added: “Council officers work closely with Dundee Health Protection Team colleagues to monitor the situation regarding cafes and restaurants.
“Our officers regularly visit establishments to help them fulfil their obligations under national coronavirus guidance by providing advice and support.”