The new man at the helm of Aberdeen’s night-time industry claimed the sector can survive – even if Covid-19 restrictions are reintroduced.
Ewan McLean was recently appointed the new evening and night-time economy manager (ENTEM) for Aberdeen city centre.
He is tasked with developing the city’s nightlife at a time where the number of Covid-19 cases is once again on the rise.
Fears have been raised in the industry that the reintroduction of strict measures, which First Minister Nicola Sturgeon admitted earlier this week is being considered, could spell the end for many businesses.
Leaders in the hospitality sector feel customers are safer socialising in highly-regulated venues rather than in each others’ homes, according to Mr McLean, who is the only ENTEM in Scotland.
Covid-19 restrictions ‘not a disaster’
But he believes the “entrepreneurship” displayed during previous lockdown periods means businesses can survive, even if tough rules are introduced.
“Venues providing a safe and secure environment for social interaction is the best environment for that to happen in, rather than a free-for-all at a house party,” he said.
“I don’t think new restrictions would be a disaster. The industry has shown great resilience and a great approach.
“There is always ingenuity and entrepreneurship people have shown, with things like the pop-up outdoor areas and takeaways.
“We can’t deny it would be bad but there is enough entrepreneurial spirit in Aberdeen that would allow the economy to keep going.”
Nightlife in ‘promising state’
Despite the near-two-year challenges brought about by coronavirus, Mr McLean, whose role is jointly funded by Aberdeen City Council and the business improvement district Aberdeen Inspired, claimed the city’s night-time economy is in a “promising state”.
“It’s a challenging time,” he said.
“We’ve got the prevailing oil downturn and the pandemic.
“However, the economy is in a promising state. There is an opportunity there, and there are a lot of people trying to do interesting things.
“There is a definite desire to come together and improve the city. We have to harness that and turn it into action.
“I’ve been in the trade while the pandemic was happening and it’s had a massive impact. The good thing is we have a city full of responsible operators who are trying to do the right thing.”