Get a round in, Nicola! Landlords TURN on Sturgeon and demand pubs be reopened
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Speaking at the First Minister’s briefing yesterday, she indicated they may remain closed for “a couple of weeks” longer due to emerging evidence about how COVID-19 transmits between people. She said pubs could have a greater risk of infection because people breathe differently.
However, pub bosses fear they could go out of business if they didn’t reopen soon and if social distancing wasn’t reduced to 1m from 2m.
In a survey, the Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SPBA) found 52.59 percent of staff expect to be made redundant if the two-metre restriction remains in place.
The Association says this equates to around 23,648 jobs in Scotland.
CEO Emma McClarkin, said: “Keeping a two-metre rule in place simply does not make financial sense and the fall out will see the loss of thousands of jobs affecting both the Scottish economy and local communities in the process.
“What’s clear is that the majority of licensed premises will simply not be able to operate under the proposed two-metre distancing, leading to mass unemployment within the sector.
“We are calling upon the Scottish Government to both reassess the current measures in place if they wish to kick-start the industry and work with us to safeguard over 23,600 jobs.”
Kevin McGee from the Athletic Arms in Edinburgh, said: “I’m bored silly, I’m a people person and can’t wait to open the doors.
“If it’s two metres it’ll most likely be me working with one other on reduced trading hours.
“In contrast, a one-metre difference and we can get more staff off furlough, trade longer, start to pay off some bills and support the local community again.”
Lisa Wishart, Managing Director of the Lisini Pub Group, which runs venues across Lanarkshire, said: “Here at Lisini’s, it is simply not viable for us to reopen on July 15 due to the current social distancing rules.
“However, if we followed the World Health Organisation’s directive, not only could we provide a safe environment for our patrons, we would be able to safeguard most of our employees livelihoods as we return to a new normal post-coronavirus.”
In response, the First Minister said that she hopes to see people enjoying a drink in beer gardens “before too long” but she stressed it is still too early to open them safely.
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She added: “I very much hope to see people able to have a pint – or some of us would prefer a glass of wine or a gin and tonic – in a beer garden before too long.
“But I want to make sure that’s safe.
“If a couple more weeks before we have the ability to have a drink in a beer garden means we can keep this virus really suppressed at a low level, and maybe get our schools back much closer to normal in August, I think most people would think that is a good balance to try to strike.”
Ms Sturgeon stressed that an investigation was ongoing about more “protective steps” which could be taken.
Jason Leitch, Scotland’s national clinical director stressed that people would meet in a “less controlled way” in beer gardens than they do at permitted family gatherings outdoors.
He said: “I think it will come before indoors.
“But I think we need a little bit more time, a little bit more data and a little bit more advice before we can reassure the First Minister and the Cabinet that we can safely take this step.”
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