Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser
MONKLANDS JOINS OMICRON BATTLE
Local surged to dial down new year celebrations under new restrictions
Three weeks of new restrictions impacting hospitality venues and public events are now in place in the continuing battle against Covid-19 – with Monklands residents urged to continue limiting their social contact over Hogmanay and new year.
Pubs and restaurants have reintroduced onemetre social distancing and table-only service, while nightclubs in the area and across Scotland have been instructed to close for at least three weeks.
Residents are asked to socialise in groups of no more than three households; while Monklands’ leisure facilities are also among the venues impacted by new rules limiting indoor public events to 100 standing attendees or 200 seated. Meanwhile, further military assistance is to be provided to NHS Lanarkshire from next week, with 32 personnel being deployed to help health board staff for a month from January 7.
The new coronavirus rules came into effect on Boxing Day in response to the new Omicron variant, with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saying: “Until at least the end of the first week in January, please go back to limiting your contacts.
“Difficult though it is, please follow this advice over new year. If we all minimise the contact we have outside our own households, we will help limit the spread of infections.”
Monklands businesses are responding to new restrictions introduced on Boxing Day to battle the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.
Nightclubs are now closed for three weeks while hospitality venues have been instructed to reintroduce one-metre social distancing between groups – which can consist of no more than three households – and table service only for at least the same period.
People have again been asked to minimise social contact, including over Hogmanay and new year, and public events such as football matches and shows are limited to a maximum of 100 and 200 for indoor standing and seated events and 500 outdoors respectively.
Robert Slavin, owner of the Eagle Inn, told how the new distancing and socialising guidelines would “impact greatly on us”– including nearly halving the capacity of this weekend’s planned Hogmanay party at the Coatbridge pub.
He said: “it’s another setback. I can’t believe we’re back here again and from talking to other proprietors everyone is worried about the uncertainty and whether it might go on for longer than three weeks again.
“We’d usually be packed for Hogmanay but the capacity now will be 70, and we didn’t open on Christmas night for our usual party.
“This is usually the best time of year and people come out to work Christmas nights who wouldn’t normally be at the pub.
“But the amount of functions and work nights out we’ve had cancelled in the past few weeks since Omicron has been phenomenal.”
Robert added: “when we first re-opened last April we were really busy as people were delighted to be out and sitting outside; they were nervous at first about being indoors but we gradually started getting folk in and then in the past two months they’re wary again and getting more cautious.
“If there were to be any more rules like bringing in earlier closing, we’d need to make a decision on what to do as we make our money on parties and live entertainment.”
Coatbridge bar Innishmohr posted on Facebook how the “difficult decision” had been taken to close until the end of January.
A statement said:“this follows the First Minister’s announcement where she advised the public to stay home and limit contact.
“From the beginning of the pandemic, we have made decisions based on what is the right thing to do for the safety and wellbeing of our team and customers. Looking after our people is vital.”
North Lanarkshire Leisure (NLL) has closed its health suite and soft play facilities until January 17 and has cancelled bookings for adult indoor contact sports, which are also prohibited during the three-week period.
A pre-booking system has been reintroduced for the Time Capsule waterpark and ice rink.
NLL said:“the health and safety of all customers, service users and staff is of the utmost importance. As such, it is very important that everyone continues to wear masks in our venues when moving between areas and all other safety measures in place at the venues are followed.”