Yesterday lunchtime, Pierre Levicky, the owner of Chez Jules set up a table from his restaurant and ate his lunch outside the Scottish Parliament to protest the extension of the coronavirus restrictions on the hospitality industry.
My Levicky is encouraging other hospitality venues to join him again this afternoon for the peaceful protest, he said: “We had people driving by and tooting, bus drivers applauding, it felt good. I think all the restaurants of Edinburgh should take a table and a meal outside parliament and we should all have a socially distanced party. It would be nice.”
Mr Levicky arrived outside the parliament with a colleague just before 2pm to have his lunch, he said: “We took chairs and tables, candles and a tablecloth, knives and forks, everything. We had proper food; two rib-eye steaks, potatoes, bread, butter, salad. It was actually nice.”
Mr Levicky continued: “I don’t really like protesting and violent protests, but I can’t just stand immobile anymore. My business and many other businesses are collapsing and we
have to defend ourselves if we can.
“We can’t eat inside, so we thought let’s go eat outside, and let’s go and eat outside of Nicola Sturgeon’s working house. She’s allowed inside, but we aren’t.
"We wanted to make a noise without disturbing the peace too much.”
Mr Levicky said that he is growing frustrated by the ‘drip feed’ of information the Scottish Government are giving his industry: “Two weeks ago I gave Nicola Sturgeon the benefit of
the doubt when she said we could reopen on October 26, but then last week she said it was going to be November 2.
“I had just ordered all the food, suppliers need notice because they don’t know what’s going on either, but suddenly I was being told that we weren’t going to be able to reopen again.
"I’m sorry to say I’m extremely frustrated with this drip feed of information. It’s very difficult to be closed but it is even more difficult to be closed without having a plan.
"I would rather we were closed for three months, as a businessman I can put something together, but every week we're told we’re reopening but then we aren’t, we’re closing again, and then we’re reopening or whatever. I can’t take it.
"I wanted to do something for my own staff and for myself to let a bit of frustration out. I thought it would be quite nice to eat in front of the Scottish parliament.
Mr Levicky said that while protesting, he was approached by a police officer who asked what they were doing and how long they would be there. He said she was ‘nice’ and ‘supportive’ when they explained that they were trying to peacefully protest against the hospitality restrictions.
Mr Levicky has plans to head back to parliament again this afternoon and is encouraging other venues across the city to join him in this peaceful protest.
Ms Sturgeon confirmed during a statement to parliament on Tuesday that restaurants and pubs would be allowed to reopen to serve food until 6pm indoors and outdoors next week.