Aberdeen bar owners have expressed anger after their businesses appeared on a Covid-19 cluster list without prior notification – and with many saying they had received no contact from authorities.
The Scottish Government yesterday took the decision to shut down all bars and restaurants in the Granite City following reports of a coronavirus outbreak at the Hawthorn Bar last week.
But many of the bars now on a list of venues where Covid-19-positive customers have wined and dined in Aberdeen have received no contact from either Environmental Health or NHS Grampian.
Nearly 30 pubs, bars and restaurants were named on a list circulated by NHS Grampian yesterday.
Mandy Davidson, owner of The Cock and Bull, said: The only reason we knew a customer that dined with us had since tested positive was a call from the guest in question.
“We were not contacted by any local authorities. We called environmental health ourselves and in fact until the time of closing the restaurant today we still had not received a call from NHS Grampian.
“I do not think the list should have been published until all venues had been contacted so that they had an opportunity to inform their staff without them first reading about it online.”
Around 54 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Aberdeen from an identified 191 close contacts.
However, NHS Grampian said it “cannot rule out detecting further cases” in the city.
Richard Nicoll, owner of the Dutch Mill said: “We thought that legally they would have had to let us know but no-one has been in touch with us.
“We’re now receiving angry messages from customers asking why we haven’t informed them.
“It is really disappointing as people are now questioning our honesty, which is something we’ve never had to deal with before. No-one has officially told us anything.”
Jamie Gray, manager of the Spider’s Web in Dyce, said there had been “no contract at all” before the pub had appeared on the list.
She added: “We’ve received no notification from anyone and people keep phoning because they’re worried they’ve got coronavirus.
“We were really surprised to see our name on the list. It would have been nice to have been notified.”
Aberdeen’s East End Social Club is also awaiting contact on the Covid-19 case it identified over the weekend.
Boss Bill Carrol said: “We’re still waiting for someone to get in contact with us.
“We put together a list of names of everyone who’s been in but I’ve called and I’ve called and no-one has called back to give us any information.”
Joanne Smart, of the Old Bank Bar, claimed she had made numerous attempts to contact authorities about a positive Covid-19 customer who had been in her premises.
She described the situation as “absolutely mental”.
The Chester Hotel, which did not appear on the NHS Grampian list, had been “serving up to 400 guests every day” since it opened following the UK lockdown, general manager Stephen Gow said.
He added: “It’s extremely unfortunate that a minority of the population was unable to abide by sensible physical distancing and this has led to us having to send all of our staff home again when they have all done the hotel proud.”
NHS Grampian said it was the responsibility of Environmental Health to inform bars and restaurants that they had been included on the list.
Health Protection Scotland’s Environmental Health office did not respond when contacted for comment.