An Aberdeen pub which reopened last week after lying dormant for nine months is among many which will close until tough coronavirus restrictions on the city are lifted.
Hospitality businesses across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire will no longer be allowed to serve alcohol for drinking on-site and must shut down at 6pm when the two regions move to Level 3 on Friday.
Several hotels, pubs, restaurants and cafes say they will be temporarily closing until restrictions are lowered as trading successfully would be impossible under the measures.
Paul West, the managing director of the Casc bar on the city’s Stirling Street said he was particularly disappointed, as his venue only opened its doors for the first time since March last Wednesday – after spending a great deal building a new outdoor area.
Mr West said: “It’s certainly disappointing because we spent a fair lot of money on the usual Covid requirements, but we also made our new outside hut because we didn’t have enough space outside to open.
“The staff are feeling a bit deflated, there was certainly some apprehension coming back with how the bar would operate with restrictions compared to how it usually does.
“But after the first day everyone settled in fine, and there was a lot of buzz about us being open again.
“It just feels like we’re back to square one. We’ll have to close until we’re back in a lower level, because serving coffee isn’t going to be enough to keep us open.”
Sheila Howarth of the Belvedere Hotel in Stonehaven said the next few weeks are usually the busiest in the venue’s calendar, particularly in the run-up to the town’s famous fireball festival on Hogmanay.
Though the government has pledged to review the tiers on a weekly basis, the hotelier has resigned herself to the tighter restrictions being in place into 2021.
She said: “I really don’t think anywhere will be going down a level again before we’re through Christmas and New Year, so I think we’re stuck.
“We’re having to focus on cancelling or amending all the bookings we’ve had between now and Christmas Day, and we’ve been quite fortunate that most of our customers haven’t automatically cancelled.
“Basically, all of our business has been taken away bit by bit.
“Usually December is so busy with all the Christmas parties, we usually serve 100 meals on Christmas Day, we’re really busy with food before the fireballs on Hogmanay, and New Year’s Day is one of the biggest of the year with our big quiz, which usually puts us at capacity.”
Paul Beattie, owner of the Globe Inn on Aberdeen’s North Silver Street, said the move up a level has been “disastrous”, and almost all of his upcoming reservations have been cancelled.
He said: “It’s gutting news, we thought it was going to happen with how the numbers were going, and finally it’s happened.
“It’s pretty disastrous really. We’re going to continue to trade until Friday at 6pm, and open over this weekend because a few people have confirmed they’ll keep their Christmas bookings and just have soft drinks, but about 90% of our bookings have already been cancelled to be honest.
“So from Monday, we will close until we’re back into a level where we can serve drink again, because it’s just not viable to stay open.
“We’ve put in so much work into keeping the place safe and clean, so it’s really disappointing.”