The owner of an Aberdeen coffee shop has called for a rethink on when outdoor hospitality can restart – for public safety.
John Wigglesworth, of Books and Beans, believes it would be safer to reopen seating areas before July 6 as many people are already making the most of takeaway services but then sitting in unclean spaces.
He claimed the Scottish Government has missed an opportunity to allow businesses, and the general public, to take a step back towards “normality” more safely.
Mr Wigglesworth said: “To make businesses until July 6 to step forward is an opportunity missed by the government.
“I think in this area there is a strong case to sit outside a clean cafe at a table, which is safer than searching for a spot to sit elsewhere.
“The only place people can can go is sometimes a dirty step or seat which hasn’t been sanitised and will then be used by someone else – surely that is more of a health risk than allowing businesses the chance to provide a safe and clean outdoor space whilst being socially distant.
“Cafes should have a distinction from licensed establishments. Often cafes are just a place for someone to stop whilst they are on their healthy walk or cycle.
“We can provide an outdoor area without encouraging a party, it would be providing a public health service.
“We are delighted to be open to be open for takeaways, no one is making any money but it is better to be open and offering a service that gives people a sense of normality.”
Books and Beans, on Belmont Street, launched a delivery service during lockdown and has already donated 1,000 sandwiches and 500 pancakes to intensive care units and care homes across Aberdeen.
Mr Wigglesworth who is also a trustee for the Bonnymuir Green Community Trust added: “It is a time to be part of the community and help people where you can. The reality is that people want to go out and have a lunch and see a journey back to normality. And we are very serious about our responsibility in doing that.”
Meanwhile, Aberdeen City Council has revealed about 40 businesses have been in touch about creating outdoor seating areas in temporary pedestrian spaces being set up as part of the Spaces for People programme.
Cafes, restaurants and bars will fast-track through the usual processes to apply for an outdoor seating area to allow for reopening on July 6.
Announcing the opening date on Wednesday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said all dates were being carefully considered while balancing out the need to to suppress the virus.