Chef speaks out
Kitchin: ‘I’ve had enough. This is ridiculous’
Tom Kitchin: ‘I know what this is doing to people’
Television chef Tom Kitchin has broken a self-imposed silence to speak out against lockdown restrictions he believes are killing the hospitality industry.
Mr Kitchin said he has “had enough” of saying nothing and has decided to speak out.
Even though restaurants will reopen from Monday he said he will be operating at a loss.
Strict new rules mean restaurants can serve no more than six people from two households, without alcohol and must close at 8pm.
“I’ve stayed quiet until now, out of respect for how serious the virus is and the people who died, but now I’ve had enough. This is ridiculous,” he told Edinburgh Live.
“I see what this is doing to people, I know people who have committed suicide, it’s absolutely tragic.
“All of my colleagues in England have been given a date so they can start planning their cash flow and take reservations, but of course Scotland has to do things differently.
“We are missing so many customers from the south of the border that are not going to bother to come here – why would they when they can’t even have a glass of wine?
“I am fed up, the debt that myself and this industry face now is insane.”
Mr Kitchin said that he will likely not make any money when he reopens his restaurant next week and warns many local businesses feel that they won’t be able to open up until 17 May when alcohol sales will be allowed again and the curfew is extended to 10.30pm.
He added: “I’m opening up to make a loss, but the only reason I can while other restaurants are having to stay closed until May is because I have a duty to my suppliers to try and get this economy moving again.
“I buy a lot of fish and a lot of meat and I know that these guys are hurting. I know how much they are hurting because I’ve seen the tears in their eyes.
“Everyone goes on about Scotland the Great, best lager in the world, best hospitality – there won’t be any hospitality. All these little Artisan producers, there will be none of them, it will all just be massive chains.
“The same when you walk down a High Street, it will all just be big chains, there will be no little independent Scottish restaurants that make the country so special.”
He said that banning the sale of alcohol “just doesn’t make sense” and he worries it will only lead to a binge-drinking culture.
He continued: “Look down south, you are just creating a binge culture, everyone is going to be outside getting smashed, all sitting outside hugging each other, when you could just have it in a controlled environment.
“Even if you are in a restaurant where you are not allowed to drink indoors, what do you think is going to happen, we know Scotland, they are going to go inside the restaurant go back outside, neck two pints or three glasses of wine, they are going to come back inside, have their starter, what is the logic here?
“Do they not realise that if you don’t run your restaurant as a responsible citizen, for example serving a really drunk person alcohol, we wouldn’t even be allowed an alcohol licence?”
What changes on Monday?
Scotland’s lockdown rules ease eased from Monday. Here’s a summary of the changes and what you can do:
Drink alcohol outside a pub until 10pm
Tables must be booked in advance and contact details need to be given.
Eat out in cafes, pubs and restaurants until 8pm
Up to six people from two households can meet up. However, no alcohol allowed indoors.
Go shopping in non-essential shops
Shoppers will be required to wear a mask and keep a safe distance
Take a staycation
Tourist accommodation will reopen though self-catering accommodation is restricted in line with rules on indoor gathering
Go to the gym
But only for individual exercise
Go for a swim in an indoor pool
Lessons for children are allowed, but adult lessons must wait until the country moves to level two
Visit libraries, art galleries and museums
Have your nails painted at a beauty salon
Pure Spa & Beauty will be reopening its nine outlets though the sector continues to express disappointment at government grant support (pic: Terry Murden)
Allow tradesmen to work inside your home
Workmen must wear masks and householders are advised to open windows and doors
Attend a funeral or wedding with up to 50 people
Alcohol will be permitted at these events
Take a driving lesson or test
Make sure you have a ticket on the train
ScotRail will re-introduce on-train duties for ticket examiners and conductors