The stark reality of the challenging weeks ahead for Dundee’s pubs was laid bare during a deluge of rainfall yesterday.
While the preceding weeks and months have already been turbulent for the trade, the next fortnight is one that publicans fear could be the final nail in the coffin.
The latest restrictions by the Scottish Government mean that alcohol can only be served outdoors and only soft drinks can be served inside, with pubs also being forced to close at 6pm.
Doors remained tightly closed at numerous watering holes as even those fortunate enough to have beer gardens were struggling to attract punters in the awful conditions.
And as the weather starts to take a turn for the worst, local landlords have spoken to the Tele about their fears of surviving the winter months if the current restrictions are extended.
Craig Halliday, manager of the Kilted Kangaroo at Roseangle said that yesterday was quiet, despite their covered beer garden.
And, despite having some bookings, he was unsure if the weather would mean they would be cancelled.
He said: “The hospitality industry is facing a colossal challenge following the introduction of the latest restrictions.
“The beer garden has been busy but this is the start of the weather that will let us know what people are going to do. This is the first real challenge we have had due to the weather.”
Jim Sorrie of Fairmuir Sport and Social Club said: “My beer garden is empty.
“Who is going to want to come along and drink outside in this weather – and this is just the start.
“I’ve jokingly put a request up on Facebook for Nicola Sturgeon to provide me with a marquee in a bid to keep the club open.
“But seriously if anyone does have a marquee then maybe we can just about stay open and save jobs.”
Jim said he had managed to keep the beer garden open at the club at the weekend but he had discussed with staff yesterday what their options are going forward.
He said: “It is a dire situation. I genuinely believe that if this goes on we are only weeks away from collapse in the club and having to shut the doors permanently.
“We can’t afford to take a chance on putting patrons into an open air beer garden in winter conditions so Friday will be our last day trading until further notice.”
John Rollo – who runs Boars Rock on the Arbroath Road, Halleys on Strathmartine Road and Caws on Panmure Street – said he spent yesterday morning shutting up shop in his premises.
John said: “We don’t have any beer gardens but even if we did who is going to drink outside in weather like this over the winter time?
“This situation is desperate and I’m getting really depressed about it.
“I have currently had to furlough 22 members of staff and I took on around five or six new members of staff when we opened up again who don’t even qualify for furlough money. I feel a huge responsibility for them.”
John said that waste in opened barrels alone was going to cost him thousands of pounds over the next 16 days.
He added: “I really don’t know what I am going to do. I’m going to have to remain closed for the next 16 days then who knows what will happen after that.”
At the weekend John Alexander, leader of Dundee City Council, said he feared the financial impact of the restrictions, while also stressing they were necessary to protect public health.
He said: “I know that there’s a lot of confusion, anger and frustration and I can understand that.
“Right now, we can all try to support them as best we can. I’ll be making sure to spend more money in our local restaurants, cafes and bars.
“The primary focus is, of course, on health and wellbeing. Protection of life and preventing a major surge that leads to hospital admissions and potentially death is forefront in everyone’s mind.
“But I am also deeply, deeply worried about the economic impact. I fear, and I think the reality is, many businesses may not survive to the end of the year.”