Scotland’s pubs all hands to the pump ahead of reopening

On Wednesday people will be able to enter premises for pints for the first time since March 23.

Scotland’s pubs all hands to the pump ahead of reopening Getty Images

Pubs across Scotland are going all hands to the pump as they get set to reopen after months of lockdown.

People will be able to enter premises for pints for the first time since March 23 on Wednesday – as long as suitable social-distancing and hygiene measures are in place.

Bars and pubs were recently allowed to serve drinks outside but the sector is now calling on customers to play their part in helping the industry get cash fully flowing.

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA), said: “We’re really keen to be reopening because we have been shut down for four months.

“The industry will be complying with guidance – social distancing – but it’s come very late and we’re flying by the seat of our pants.

“We also have to ask customers to bear with us when making sure we are all safe.”

Hootenanny in Glasgow’s Howard Street is among the pubs fully reopening on Wednesday.

Manager David Lopez said changes in place include cutting the number of tables inside from more than 20 to around six to comply with social distancing measures.

Customers will not be able to order a drink at the bar as it will be table service only and enhanced hygiene measures are also in place.
“It will be different but everything is different just now,” he told the PA news agency.

“It will be as normal as we can get it but still not back to the way it was. There will be no live music and there won’t be a crowd in for the football matches.”

Outdoor service resumed at the pub when beer gardens in Scotland were allowed to reopen last week.

Despite the lifting of lockdown measures, some premises will not be reopening.

Captain’s Bar in Edinburgh is known for its daily live music performances in a snug environment.

Landlady Pamela Macgregor does not feel she can open the doors once again for financial and safety reasons.

She has called on Edinburgh City Council to provide some “leeway” in letting her use the outdoor space for seating customers and music lovers.

The bar has previously sold takeaway beers with a gazebo outside but this was shut down due to licensing restrictions.

The landlady pointed to changes made during the festival season to allow businesses to open pop-ups as a way things could be done differently for a short time.

Ms Macgregor said: “I’m not able to use the pavement because it’s not wide enough for people who would need to pass in a wheelchair, which is totally understandable.

“How can we not use some of the flexibility available for festival licenses and bring some business to the city?”

She has urged the council to let her use parking spaces in front of the South College Street venue to make some outdoor seating available for two months while the pandemic is ongoing.

A spokeswoman for Edinburgh City Council said the local authority is making outdoor space available for businesses where possible through its Spaces for People programme.

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