Dundee nightclub boss Tony Cochrane has criticised comments for Jason Leitch as he repeated calls for clarity of the reopening of nightclubs.
Speaking on the BBC radio show Off The Ball, national clinical director Jason Leitch was asked about coronavirus test events for the return of nightclubs in Liverpool.
Professor Leitch told the show that the Liverpool event had been held in a large warehouse.
He said: “Those UK test events have been really interesting for all of us. So full crowds indoors at the snooker, half crowds at the snooker leading up to that.
“And then two warehouse-style nightclub events. Let’s be clear, these weren’t dark, dingy basement nightclubs. They were big warehouse rave-style nightclub events.
Tony Cochrane, who owns Fats Sams Live, Club Tropicana and other local nightspots, said Mr Leitch had clearly “not been in a nightclub” based on the comments.
Seizing on the comments, Mr Cochrane said: “I mean, that’s the person advising government and he is calling us dingy basements. We’re far from that. He’s obviously never been in a nightclub by the sounds of it.
He called on the Scottish Government to engage with the sector about their concerns to better understand the environments they operate.
Under the current Scottish Government roadmap nightclubs and adult entertainment venues will be the only businesses not allowed to reopen at Level 0.
He’s obviously never been in a nightclub by the sounds of it
Whilst pubs and restaurants gear up to restart the sale of alcohol indoors from Monday as Scotland moves to Level 2, Tony Cochrane said his businesses have been left in the dark.
He told The Courier the government’s decision to keep the nighttime economy in limbo could end up causing more less safe house parties.
“They are saying it’s safe for multiple households to meet in one house. What that means is young people at 18 or 19, they won’t be going home to bed at 10:30pm.
“They’ll be going to parties, and that six will turn to 16.”
He added: “When we were allowed to open as a bar last year, the environment was we checked their temperatures, their details and made sure they were socially distanced. It was really well controlled.
“But as soon as they left they jumped into the same taxi together and said they were going to a house because it was too early.”
Legal action to have the Scottish Government’s plans declared unlawful was recently launched and supported by Mr Cochrane.
Announcing the legal action, the Nightime Industries Association [NTIA] said the hospitality sector had been “driven to the edge of insolvency by the severe restrictions” in place during the pandemic.
The group criticised the lack of a clear timeline for the reopening of nighttime industries as they launched a judicial review of the government’s roadmap.
Asked about Prof Leitch’s comments, a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We do not underestimate the severe impact this pandemic has had on nightclubs across Scotland, but we must move very carefully to ensure continued suppression of Covid-19.
“We have always said we will keep plans under review and accelerate the lifting of restrictions if possible, and we will continue engaging with the sector on this.”