Drunken revellers celebrating Oktoberfest had to be thrown out of an Aberdeen bar at the weekend for flouting coronavirus rules.
A group of nearly 30 lederhosen-sporting drinkers visited the Draft Project on Saturday.
Proprietor Paul Clarkson said they were all seated in groups across five tables, respecting the rule of only six people from a maximum of two households meeting up.
The huge beer tent in Langstane Place has been the centre of controversy after Aberdeen’s local lockdown in August, with politicians applying constant scrutiny at every turn.
Councillors and members of the public alike raised concern at the weekend however, with many expressing worry such a large group – in organised fancy dress – might not be respecting the rules.
The Draft Project shared images of the celebrations on its social media channels, showing a group of six mixing with other people in the queue for entry.
Videos emerged of a man walking around the marquee later in the evening, breaking the coronavirus rules by not wearing a face covering.
PB Devco operations director, Paul Clarkson, said two of the five groups were “eventually” ejected for ignoring the rules.
He told The P&J: “There are terms and conditions in our booking system for the six from two households rules, which are checked again when people arrive.
“Environmental Health have instructed us to question any suspicious-looking group but we question every single group coming in.
“We tell people the rules until we are blue in the face and if they don’t listen, they are removed.
“Eventually, two of the tables had to be removed from the venue as they were not adhering to our behaviour policy.”
He added: “The bigger issue is they gathered in a group before coming and probably afterwards – but that’s not for me to stop.
“But with these pictures from the weekend, do people know these groups are not from two households?
“Those in costume were in on five separate bookings and they were not moving about the tables.”
The images drew criticism from local SNP councillor Audrey Nicoll, who urged Environmental Health to revisit the premises, even though the bar was signed off by officers only two weeks ago.
Mrs Nicoll said: “The majority of pubs are working incredibly hard to ensure their venue is a safe environment, but the images on the Draft Project’s social media channels show seven people queuing to enter the premise and people not wearing masks when moving around.
“I asked Environmental Health to look into the procedures in place to ensure they are robust as these posts could lead to people questioning whether the two households maximum rule is being followed.”
A council spokesman confirmed systems in place at the premises complied with the regulations.
Licensing board member, Liberal Democrat councillor Martin Greig, added: “Everyone has a responsibility to make sure the safety rules are followed stringently.
“It is unsafe to try and ignore the crisis or to imagine that you should push against the regulations as much as you can get away with.”