Dundee takeaway owners have spoken of their “relief” that they won’t be forced to close under stricter Covid-19 rules.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced yesterday that, as from Saturday, customers will no longer be permitted to enter eateries to collect food or refreshments.
Local business are already taking measures to install hatches and other means to ensure they can still be operational come this weekend.
The new restriction is part of a raft of changes brought in to slow the current spread of coronavirus, which is threatening to overwhelm the NHS.
The measures also include a complete ban on drinking booze outdoors, while click and collect stores will be required to introduce timeslots for customers to pick up items.
Speaking after the announcement, Grant Mulholland, proprietor of The Old Mill Kitchen & Coffee Shop on Brown Street, said he would have to spend hundreds of pounds making his premises complaint.
He added: “There is a relief that we will still be able to remain open in some capacity. Before yesterday’s announcement I was fearing that we would be forced to shut.
“Throughout the whole process we’ve had to adapt and retrain staff to ensure we have been compliant.
“As a business it has been challenging rolling out these various changes during the pandemic but we’ve totally understood the reasons, given the challenges on the health system.”
He added: “We are just looking to install a new door and hatch whilst operating a door bell system and delivery bay to collect orders. This will cost us a couple of hundred quid to implement.
“Unfortunately, we haven’t had access to any Scottish Government funding. We couldn’t get access to the closure grants, that was only available to licenced premises – even though we had to follow the same rules with regards to closing times.
“We will continue to try and serve the public and key workers as best we can. My only immediate concern will be it putting the kibosh on people coming to the premises if they have to stand outside in the rain waiting on food?”
Heather Sharp, owner of Coffee & Co on Reform Street in Dundee, was taken aback by the news but said she would try to do everything possible to stay open.
She said: “Walking for a cup of coffee was getting people out and about. It makes them feel good.
“They were coming from the likes of Broughty Ferry to here and this was their treat, getting a nice coffee and walking back. People just want a bit of normality.
“We have a mobile card machine so this will just mean me running back and forward to the door.
“We’re closed at the moment on a Saturday anyway, so we’ll have to look at the logistics and we’ll get a plan for Monday. By hook or by crook we’ll make sure customers can get their coffee at the door.”
But other cafes which have been operating takeaway and collection services may be forced to close as the new rules come into force.
Jonathan Horne, owner of Henry’s Coffee House, which had only re-opened one of its three branches in Dundee, said it would close until restrictions ease.
He said: “We’re trading at the moment with one location but we will be closing.
“I know the first minister said the restrictions will come into place on Saturday, but she didn’t mention a time.
“So we don’t know yet whether our last day will be Friday or Saturday, it will depend on the time that’s given.
“We probably will stay closed until we come back out of this and can go back into Level 3.”