Health bosses have warned they ‘cannot rule out the possibility of detecting further cases’ after a cluster of people tested positive for coronavirus in an incident associated with a city bar.
Customers had visited the Hawthorn Bar, on Holburn Street, on July 26 and have since tested positive for the virus.
They are currently displaying mild symptoms.
NHS Grampian is working closely with environmental health staff at Aberdeen City Council as part of their investigation into the incident.
The Hawthorn Bar – after a deep clean and ‘defogging’ – has been allowed to re-open and there has been no indication of any deficiency in its practices to date.
Owner Philip Adams told the Press and Journal he was “deeply saddened” by the news and that Sunday trading had been incredibly quiet.
He stressed that all possible precautions had been taken since reopening and urged customers to continue to support the business.
The family-run pub, also known as The Adams & The Hawthorn, has operated since 1974.
He said: “We urge customers to continue their support for us.
“We have had extensive protection in place since July 15, which has included reduced capacity, protective screens and PPE for staff.
“We are now at the centre of negativity surrounding Covid-19, which is unfair as we aren’t the only city pub open throughout this pandemic.”
Mr Adams stressed that safety remains “paramount” and asked people to respect his staff and customers in the coming days.
NHS Grampian’s health protection team are currently speaking with confirmed cases as part of their investigation.
Dr Emmanuel Okpo, consultant in public health medicine, warned: “We cannot rule out the possibility of detecting further cases linked to this cluster.
//THREAD We are investigating thirteen detected cases of COVID-19 in Aberdeen associated with The Hawthorn Bar, a licensed premises in the city centre. All those who have tested positive to date are exhibiting only mild symptoms.
— NHS Grampian (@NHSGrampian) August 2, 2020
“We all need to take responsibility for our own behaviour, especially if consuming alcohol.
“We know drinking impacts on our decision making. The only way we can maintain our hard won progress in reducing the impact of Covid-19 is by working together.”
Last night, Aberdeen City Council Douglas Lumsden urged residents to adhere to regulations and help quell a further rise in cases.
He said: “This outbreak reminds us that Covid-19 has not gone away and we need to keep our guard up at all times.
“By remaining vigilant and following the social distancing rules we can all work together to beat this virus.”
Local councillor and Liberal Democrat group leader Ian Yuill echoed those comments, saying: “We cannot afford to drop our guard.”
The Hawthorn Bar had a number of controls in place for physical distancing and enhanced hygiene and has been taking all contact details for customers since it opened its doors.
Owners have since been issued advice on how to improve these measures even further.
NHS Grampian are also carrying out wider contact tracing work as a result of the incident, as part of the Test and Protect scheme.
Last night North East MSP Liam Kerr urged people to continue to support local pubs and restaurants, many of which are struggling to make a profit.
He said: “The important thing to recognise is that local pubs and restaurants are doing really well at logging their visitors.
“These new cases underline the importance of following the official guidance.”
As of yesterday afternoon, there were 31 new cases of coronavirus confirmed in Scotland in the previous 24 hours.
There were no new deaths of people who had tested positive for Covid-19, meaning the total under this measurement remains at 2,491.
A total of 265 people are in hospital with coronavirus, including three in intensive care.
In the wake of news, other bars and pubs sprung into action.
Soul Bar posted on Facebook to inform customers they would be opening later than usual.
This was due to the fact they were carrying out a deep clean of the property “on the back of” the news about the Hawthorn Bar’s experience.
Last night, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “NHS Grampian has made the Scottish Government aware that it is investigating 13 detected cases of COVID-19 in Aberdeen.
“The health board has advised that the bar is cooperating fully with the investigation and has enhanced control measures in place.
“The health board has followed all necessary procedures and has reacted quickly to this localised outbreak.
“As part of this, the health board has carried out wider contact tracing work as part of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect system.
“Anyone who has visited the bar recently should be extra vigilant at this time.
“These cases highlight that Covid-19 still poses a real risk to everyone.
“It is vital that people across the country continue to wear face coverings where required, maintain physical distancing and practice good hand and cough hygiene.”