A ban on gatherings of more than six people has been branded lunacy and sparked anger among pubs and restaurants in Dundee.
On Thursday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the new restriction – which comes legally into effect on Monday – and said it was necessary to curb a recent rise in Covid-19 cases.
Groups of up to eight people from three households were previously able to gather but that is now reduced to six people from two households – both indoors and outdoors.
A planned re-opening of live music and theatre venues has also been delayed.
Wayne O’Hare landlord of the Bowbridge Bar branded the new restrictions as “lunacy”.
He said: “I just think they are strangling businesses and, if this continues much longer, I can’t see all businesses surviving.
“It’s an extremely difficult time at the moment – I just don’t know where we go from here.
“Honestly, anyone looking at this is thinking the Scottish Government is making this up as they go along. It’s hard to have faith in them.
“With rules about no music, pubs are like morgues. The irony is that, as a result, people are having house parties – and that’s creating the rise in cases, not businesses.”
Wayne believes the economic impact due to Covid-19 restrictions will bring about far worse consequences than the virus directly.
“I just feel that people are getting completely and utterly sick fed up. They’re using a sledgehammer to crack a nut,” he said.
“It’s fine for politicians on £80,000 salaries to set these rules, but in the process they are decimating honest business people.”
At Holyrood yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon acknowledged she had a responsibility to persuade people of the case for lockdown restrictions “to avoid social unrest”.
She also stressed the need for enforcement of the restrictions “so people who are flagrantly breaching the law have consequences”.
It is now also mandatory for customers in hospitality premises to wear face coverings whenever they are moving around and not eating or drinking, and for staff to wear masks.
Other pubs also questioned the restriction especially as the onus might be on them to ensure it was being followed.
David Glass, owner of Doc Ferry’s, said: “I think this two households rule might be a bit of a nightmare, how are we supposed to police that?
“Six people will be no great shake for us as we don’t have any tables that big anyway, but the households may be an issue.
“I think that people are going to have to take the onus for that upon themselves, all we can do is trust people when they say they’re different households.
“I realise that it’s being done for public health, but it does seem to be a step back.
“If three men of 60 walk in and meet for a drink, how are we supposed to make sure that they’re different households? If I go to challenge them on it, what am I going to argue?
Meanwhile, Ross Turriff, owner of Jessie’s Kitchen, said the limit would likely be more manageable for his business.
He: “As it happens, we’ve only been taking bookings for up to six so far.
“We made that decision early on, so a guideline on six people is fine for us.
“It will be hard for small businesses to decide who lives with who and ensure that everything is within the rules.
“I think that we’ll just have to take people at face value and not argue with what they say.
“We all have to work together to keep businesses up and running and keep staff and customers safe.
“We need to be safe and respectful of the rules.”