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Nightclub owner says he won’t reopen until over-18s are double-jabbed

Skinandi's nightclub won't reopen until September 18.
Skinandi's nightclub won't reopen until September 18.

A Caithness nightclub owner says he won’t open the doors to his club until over-18s are double vaccinated.

Brian Cardosi, who owns Scotland’s most northern nightclub  – Skinandi’s – says: “Yes, we are losing turnover, but better to lose a bit of turnover rather than local people and lives”

He says he will keep the doors shut until September 18.

From August 9, Scotland moves to “beyond level 0” where the legal requirement for social distancing and limits on gatherings will be removed – meaning all venues, including nightclubs, can reopen.

Staff at Skinandi’s nightclub in Thurso.

Test and Trace will still be in operation however, which has brought fears that rooms full of single-jabbed youngsters could result in hundreds required to isolate.

It’s why Mr Cardosi has chosen to wait an extra six weeks to open his Thurso nightclub due to Scottish Government rules which state that people will still have to self isolate as a close contact – unless they have been fully vaccinated for 14 days, received a negative PCR test and aren’t showing any symptoms of the virus.

But the north-east business man has pointed out that the majority of his young customers won’t be double-jabbed come August 9.

“Most of my customers will have only had one jab unless they work in an environment which has allowed them to have two jabs early on or they are vulnerable,” he said.

‘You could be talking about 700 people having to isolate’

“So chances are within the first weekend or two, somebody is going to test positive in there and then that means the majority of my customers are going to have to isolate – and likewise so are half of my staff.

“And if you have got a full nightclub, you could be talking about anything between 400 and 700 people having to isolate.

“You can just imagine the impact that could have on the wider community – 400 to 700 young people having to isolate from their day jobs. Other businesses could be dramatically affected for weeks.

“It’s been 17 months so far, so waiting another month and a bit – what difference is it going to make?

Skinandi’s nightclub in Thurso.

“It will save both the whole nightclub having to isolate and a lot of headaches and worrying if we are going to be able to open the following weekend.”

After contacting local surgeries in Thurso, Mr Cardosi reckons most of his young customers will be vaccinated come September 18.

He said: “One surgery is starting their over-18 second jab programme at the end of August and the other one is doing vaccinations on September 4 – so basically two weeks after that on September 18 all over-18-year-olds in Thurso who have come forward for their second jab won’t have to isolate unless they test positive.”

Not only will waiting an extra month-and-a-half “save worrying about whether we can or can’t open”, Mr Cardosi believes it is the moral thing to do to protect the community.

‘The moral thing to do’

“I suppose the reason nightclubs have been closed all this time is because they are a high-risk area. So there is no point opening when most of my customers are still potentially at a high risk of spreading it.

“Once they have been double jabbed, then their transmission rate is supposedly a lot less – which then is a lot safer for the rest of the community,” he said.

“I feel that Caithness and Thurso has done well at looking after each other – so why jump in too quickly when waiting another month and a half will help protect the community a bit longer.

“We don’t know if anybody else will still follow suit or whether any bars will try and restrict numbers or not but this could help another nightclub decide that yes maybe the moral thing to do is just wait a bit longer.

“Yes we are losing turnover but better to lose a bit of turnover rather than local people and lives.

Skinandi’s nightclub will reopen on September 18.

“Another reason is how many customers will you actually get because some maybe can’t afford to have to isolate and they will only come out once they have got their second jab.

“I always think if you are given a good service, customers will look after you in the end.”

The decision has not come lightly for Mr Cardosi, who says: “In 40 years of being in business this has been the most traumatic period that I think I have ever had”.

“But come September 18, basically it’s all back to normal you could say,” he said.

‘It has been a nightmare’

“I certainly am looking forward to getting it back open. It has been a bit of a nightmare, having a business lying shut for 17 months as a businessman who likes to keep going forward – it has been so stressful.

“I have been grateful for the grants that I have been given although they have just covered most things.

“Without the grants who knows what would have been happening but as a businessman all I want to do is work and know that I have got a business that is viable.”

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