Coronavirus in Scotland: Glasgow bar owner says Bank Holiday weekend is ‘wee jolt in the arm’ hospitality needs

A Glasgow bar owner has said the upcoming Bank Holiday weekend is “essential” for the city’s struggling hospitality industry and the “wee jolt in the arm” the sector needs.

Colin Clydesdale is the co-owner of establishments including Ubiquitous Chip, Stravaigin and Hanoi Bike Shop with those among the many in Glasgow he says have “effectively shut since October”.

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That move brought widespread relaxations over rules in hospitality and entertainment, including venues being able to serve alcohol indoors.

With a Bank Holiday Monday approaching this week, Mr Clydesdale is pleading for more notice this time around on what the decision would be – even if it means hearing the restrictions will continue.

He said: “We’ve got the Bank Holiday which will bring income, income is exactly what this industry needs so rather than leaving it to the last minute tell us in advance either way because at the moment we’re trying to second guess the scenario and no one’s got a clue.

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“If the figures are stacking up and it looks like they’re gonna allow us to open then give us as much notice as humanly possible – 4.45pm on a Friday is not enough.

Hanoi Bike Shop in Glasgow.Hanoi Bike Shop in Glasgow.
Hanoi Bike Shop in Glasgow.

“Let’s not be naive here this weekend is necessary to the trade, it’s the wee jolt in the arm it needs to get itself possibly started, businesses have sustained huge losses for over a year – you tell me which other trade has been asked to do that.

“No other business has been treated like this and it’s not just a business – there are tens of thousands of jobs in Glasgow alone and that’s just in establishments… there’s fishermen that aren’t landing catches because Glasgow’s not buying it at the moment.”

Mr Clydesdale also said his team spent three days cancelling 700 bookings they had on the Saturday after the decision was announced.

He added: “Every bar and restaurant in Glasgow had spent an enormous amount of money just to get themselves ready to go after 14 months of the worst trading period ever and at the end of it had the feet kicked from under us.

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“We now appear to be getting to a position where we may well be allowed to reopen, ‘cautiously optimistic’ is the phrase they’re using.

“Everybody in this industry has tried our level best to accommodate whatever restrictions were put on us and let’s be fair – hospitality has been on the hook for this over and over and over again.

“We’ve been shut effectively since last October, we had two sets of two weeks when we’ve been allowed to trade until 6pm – how on earth can this now be hospitality’s fault?

“It just doesn’t stack up and here we are penalised again… the only folk in the UK that can’t sell a pint inside.”

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