Frustration among pubs

Publicans threaten to defy social distancing rules

Grassmarket

Pubs owners are becoming frustrated by continued lockdown (pic: Terry Murden)

Pub landlords are threatening to open next month whether or not the social distancing rules are relaxed.

There are concerns that it is uneconomic for smaller hostelries to operate the two-metre stipulation, as it will restrict the numbers allowed inside at any one time.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said hospitality businesses in England can reopen after 4 July but only if the number of coronavirus cases and deaths continues to fall.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has given no date for pubs to reopen, and left the hospitality sector disappointed on Thursday by refusing to allow even pub gardens to open at least until the next review on 2 July.

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She said there was evidence that pubs and gyms were “hot spots” for transmission of Covid-19, though she did announce a review of the distancing rule.

Some landlords south of the border have threatened to defy the order as they fear they will close for good if the current distancing rule remains in place. Such a move will turn up the heat in Scotland with the country in its third month of lockdown.

The hospitality industry said a failure to reduce social distancing to one metre, in line with World Health Organisation guidelines, will cost one million jobs across the UK.

Pubs and breweries say they need at least three weeks to get ready to open because beer must be brewed and social-distancing measures have to be put in place. They also have staff coming off furlough and decisions are being taken on who is kept on.

Brewers said more than 70m pints of beer have already been thrown away during lockdown and even more will go to waste if the re-start date is delayed.

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