Pubs in Dundee have called on social distancing measures to be reduced to one metre to help them reopen once lockdown restrictions are lifted.
Debbie Findlay, landlady of the Eagle Coaching Inn in Broughty Ferry, has said she wants to open up as soon as she can and has urged punters to flock to the pubs once more.
She said reducing the social distancing measures to just one metre would help solve a lot of the problems she is expecting to face.
She said: “It is very difficult to plan because we don’t know what the expectations will be.
“If the two metre rule was reduced to one metre, that would be great.
“With social distancing we would be running with about a third of my capacity, down to just 30 people, and that won’t pay the bills, I don’t have the money for that.
“I still need to pay for lighting, the fridges, the coolers, they all still run whether we have 30 in the pub or 100 in the pub.
“I have two outside pavement areas with a capacity for 40 people but if it starts to rain, eight of them wouldn’t be allowed in the pub, which is where reducing social distancing to one metre would really help.”
She continued: “People need to come back – maybe they think it is too dangerous, or they are quite enjoying going to the supermarket and having a drink in the house, but please come back to the pubs.
“At this time of year we are normally busy the whole week and it is a good opportunity to put money away to be used for repairs or to cover us in the leaner months.
“Given I still need to pay rent when I am closed, it is not an option, I have to reopen as soon as I can, even if it means I have to work all day and all night.
“It is a horrendous situation.”
Debbie also added many businesses will face issues in the coming months with staff holiday entitlement.
Jimmy Marr, who owns several pubs and restaurants in Dundee, also said the extent of social distancing could be the difference between reopening or not.
He said: “For small pubs, we have the Taybridge Bar on Perth Road, and Harlequins on Albert Street, and the two metre rule would be practically impossible to work there.
“But we’ve also got 172 at The Caird on Perth Road with plenty of indoor space and a beer garden, and Nicolls on Commercial Street, and it could work there.
“If it was reduced to a metre it would be a great benefit but it’s got to be about safety.
“It’s all a big unknown and we still don’t know when we’re going to get to open.
“Now [the UK Government] is saying in two or three months they’ll stop the furlough scheme and we have to pay our staff, but how can we if our pubs and restaurants are closed?
“I think they need to look at the leisure industry separately.
“They’re forcing us to stay closed – for good reason – so we’re going to need more help.”