Paisley Daily Express
Pub restart in jeopardy
Tommy: Keeping pals one metre apart is ‘unrealistic’
New rule could halt hospitality reopenings
This was not the rule when everything opened last time
Hospitality businesses in Paisley have slammed “ridiculous” guidance given to bars and restaurants ahead of restrictions easing next week.
Renfrewshire’s hospitality sector is set to reopen on Monday after a second wave of devastating closures, which has left many businesses struggling financially.
The move to Level 3 allows for up to six people from six households to meet at an outdoor hospitality venue and up to six people from two households to socialise together indoors in a café or restaurant.
But new draft guidance published by the Scottish Government sets out that one metre social distancing must be observed between those households when they meet.
The government said it had worked wi t h industry and unions to ensure its guidance was “evidencebased, fair and ethical, clear and realistic”.
It also said the draft guidance “may be amended subject to comments received to take into account engagement with stakeholders”.
Businesses in Renfrewshire have criticised the new guidance, saying it is unrealistic of the Scottish Government to expect ever y premises to be able to enforce it.
Tommy McGrory, who runs The Bungalow in Paisley’s Shuttle Street, said the government is “moving the goalposts” for already struggling businesses.
He said: “They are changing the rules. This was not the rule when everything opened last time.
“The hospitality sector has racked up costs to change how things are done to make sure they are following the rules.
“The addition of screens, masks and hand sanitiser, reduced capacity and now this. It’s ridiculous.
“It hasn’t been cheap for businesses to get themselves ready to open after already being shut for months on end.
“Then this crops up and it is just unrealistic to expect businesses to be able to ensure this is happening.”
Paisley First has called for the Scottish Government to rethink “impossible” guidance given to the hospitality sector ahead of its reopening next week.
The business suppor t organisation claims businesses will be dealt another financial blow if the guidance is allowed to go ahead as planned.
Chair of Paisley First, Colette Cardosi, said it is “impossible” to expect businesses to operate under this guidance and is unfair to businesses which have already worked hard to make a number of adaptations to open safely.
Colette said: ”We fully expected that one metre social distancing would apply between tables, but it’s impossible for one metre distancing to be implemented between households within each table setting.
“This is a real blow for hospitality businesses who have borne the brunt of covid restrictions, but continued to work hard to adapt throughout the last year for the safety of their staff and customers.
“This will reduce capacity to such an extent that many businesses will simply be unable to reopen and, unless this guidance is changed, they will need additional financial support to survive.
“With many businesses set to reopen in less than seven days, clarity around these rules is needed as a matter of urgency.”