Listening to the radio on my drive back from Stoke last week, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Alcohol banned in pubs in Scotland?
A brave/necessary/bonkers/pure callous move by Nicola Sturgeon, depending on which side of the political and Covid fence you sit on.
But there it was – a confusing set of rules which, for the following 16 days, has left booze off-limits indoors in all Scottish pubs.
Pubs must close at 6pm, unless they have a licence to sell alcohol outside, in which case they can stay open until 10pm.
And bars in the central belt, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, have closed completely.
Al fresco drinks might have held some appeal up until a couple of weeks ago, when the biting chill of autumn – and some days winter – sneaked in.
But now you’d need full ski wear to survive your first prosecco.
Now they have a second blow with which to contend.
What’s buoying is to see the innovation at hand.
Take the Queens Hotel on Perth Road, which has set up “escape desks” in its lounge area for those finding it difficult to work from home, for a change of scene while still socially distancing.
Or just to get out the house, relieving cabin fever, or on a more serious note, providing stimulation and conversation for someone with anxiety – and goodness knows the true toll on mental health.
Popping into Gleneagles Hotel for a work meeting over coffee this week also showed quick management thinking, with temporary canvas constructions popping up around the grounds to allow guests to drink within the confines of the law.
All over Dundee and beyond, employers will be fighting for survival. The hospitality industry is not going down without a fight – and frankly they’ll have to fight and think with everything they have.
It’s hard to find the positives for businesses in these times but if our glasses are to be half full, at least we’re not in the central belt.