A well-known Perthshire pub will not be reopening after lockdown as the owner warned he “won’t be the last” to fall victim to coronavirus.
David Reekie, who runs Kinnears Inn in Scone, took the difficult decision to shut his business amid the uncertainty of what is to come for the bar trade.
The publican fears smaller rural pubs will not be able to survive the quiet summer or implement social distancing measures when they are allowed to reopen.
With his lease ending in June, David feels Covid-19 has given him no choice but to stop trading at Kinnears, permanently.
David said: “We’ve been here four years and this was looking like it was going to be a good year.
“But from March to May I’ve probably lost about £15,000. We had a few big parties booked that were going to take over the whole pub (around 80 people).
“When the pubs do open back up people will be chomping at the bit for a pint but we’re that small anyway that we couldn’t put in social distancing.
“Places are going to be chock-a-block. Our bar restaurant can sit 40. If we need to social distance we’re going to be half of that and then you’re asking yourself is this is viable?
“The figures are just not adding up at all.
“Don’t get me wrong, I think social distancing is right. Our pub could open up on the figures we do Monday to Thursday and that (social distancing) wouldn’t be a problem.
“But you can’t sustain a business on that. What keeps us going is the Friday and Saturday nights when the place is chock-a-block.
“Small rural pubs rely on their Friday and Saturday nights. I don’t think we’re the first and I don’t think we’ll be the last to close.”
The publican also raised concerns about policing social distancing, believing he would have to employ extra door staff or leave himself exposed to fines.
Earlier this month, the British Beer and Pub Association claimed April could have been the best for the beer and pub trade in a decade, if it were not for lockdown.
The trade group forecast 35 million extra pints of beer would have been sold in April than under normal circumstances due to the unseasonal sunny weather, with a total of 745 million pints sold across the month overall.