A north-east fireworks firm left counting its losses in the pandemic has urged the public to celebrate Bonfire Night and the festive season responsibly.
Fireworx Scotland, based in Inverurie, typically provides spectacular fireworks displays all across Scotland and beyond year-round, but the company has suffered financially in recent months.
The business is expected to lose out on half a million pounds of turnover in November and December alone as normal celebrations are severely reduced.
While last year Fireworx was behind 86 professional displays in November, this year it has only one private display lined up.
Similarly, while last Hogmanay involved 24 bookings for displays from the company, this year it has just two organised.
Although public displays across Scotland have been cancelled because of the virus and the need to prevent mass gatherings, Mark Copland, director of Fireworx, has urged those who are choosing to have private events to do so safely.
He has appealed for people to support local businesses, and report any “idiots” misusing pyrotechnics to the police.
Mr Copland said: “We have worked closely with various local authorities and the government consultation on trying to encourage people to go to organised displays and not to buy their own fireworks.
“As there are no public displays this year, people are obviously going to do their own firework displays in their garden.”
He added: “We don’t want people to go to supermarkets, but to shop locally instead.
“Our staff are trained and have a knowledge of every single firework in the shop, and can offer advice on how to use them safely, whereas if you walk into the supermarket the person standing at the counter won’t be able to do that.
“We’re different from your supermarkets, we’re a shop for fireworks enthusiasts.
“We give customers safety advice and help them choose the right fireworks for their size of garden, we ask the age groups of their children, and look at the geographical areas where they’d be setting them off.”
Mr Copland said he has encouraged all of his customers to have their displays at set times of 7pm tonight, and 8pm on November 7, so there “aren’t any fireworks going off for hours into the night”.
He went on to say that there are “some idiots out there that use fireworks in an unsafe manner”, and encouraged the public to report such behaviour to the authorities.
Fireworx Scotland operates all year-round and typically employs 52 people, but due to the pandemic only three people are currently working for the company.
Mr Copland said the impact on his industry has also had an effect on other sectors.
He said: “In November, I usually work for 20 hours a day up until the 5th, but this year I’ve been sat at home twiddling my thumbs so it’s a bit surreal.
“It’s had a knock-on effect too, I use Star vehicle rental in Dyce, and come November and December I’m usually one of their biggest customers.”