After three weeks in local lockdown, hospitality businesses in Aberdeen are welcoming back customers.
Bars and restaurants were ordered to close on August 5 following a spike in coronavirus cases linked to the city’s nightlife.
More than 260 Covid cases have been associated with the cluster so far.
From Wednesday, venues can reopen once they have passed a site inspection by environmental health officers.
For Allan Henderson, from the McGintys Group which own a number of pubs, restaurants and hotels in the city, the move has been welcomed as they try to pick up the last of the summer trade.
‘It’s not all about being totally locked down – life needs to go on, we all know it’s going to be a different kind of normal but life needs to go on.’Allan Henderson, from the McGintys Group
“We’ve lost a bit of the summer now, it’s important that we go back and deliver for our customers – our customers want to be out there,” Mr Henderson explains.
“It’s not all about being totally locked down – life needs to go on, we all know it’s going to be a different kind of normal but life needs to go on.”
Covid safety measures and procedures will have to be cleared by officials before premises can reopen. By Tuesday, 327 premises had been assessed.
Aberdeen City Council Co-Leader Jenny Laing explains: “We gave an assurance as the council, our environmental health officers would make sure they worked with businesses to ensure they could open and that’s what we will do.”
Bar owners say the onus is on both them and the public to make sure standards don’t lapse again.
Stuart McPhee from Siberia Bar and Hotel says they are putting in extra measures to ensure those not complying with the rules are removed from the premises.
“We’re going above and beyond the guidance and putting in a last order system across venues that is basically a two step warning, a red card yellow card system to emphasise that if you’re breaking the guidance you’ll get a warning, if you do it again you’ll be removed from the premises.”
The opening up of the hospitality trade comes after a five-mile restriction on travel ended on Monday along with the relaxation on indoor gatherings and visits to hospitals and care homes.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has thanked those in Aberdeen for complying with the rules.
At a Covid-19 briefing earlier this week, she said: “These restrictions have been effective in beating back this outbreak, for the simple reason that you have all complied very well with them.
“That’s also the reason that we’re now able to lift these restrictions.
“I know how difficult this last two-and-a-half week period must have been for everyone in the city and you have my grateful thanks for that compliance.”