Tayside pubs sidestepping a new booze ban are unsure whether punters will brave the cold for a pint.
New restrictions mean that pubs and restaurants with outdoor seating can bypass rules which prohibit alcohol from being served indoors.
In addition, outdoor venues are not subject to a 6pm curfew – they can remain open until 10pm.
The measures, brought in to stem rising cases of Covid-19, have already resulted in a number of Dundee pubs saying they’ll shut up shop.
For pubs lucky enough to have a beer garden, the next two weeks will be a case of watching what happens.
Andrew Mitchell, owner of Kilted Kangaroo, said: “We ask people to wrap up warm, stay safe and play by the rules – there’s nothing else we can do.
“The weather will be challenging but it’s Scotland and we just need to deal with it and dress for the conditions.”
Andrew said the rules were another hammer blow to the industry and he felt “disappointed and frustrated”.
“We’ve spent a lot of time and money putting restrictions in place to make the pub safer but people can still buy and consume alcohol in places without these restrictions – let’s not pretend that house parties aren’t happening,” he said.
“I understand the need for it but at the same time, where does it end? What will a 16-day break do?”
Paul Russell, who runs the Bank Bar with wife Susan, said: “Public health is at the forefront of everyone’s mind but it seems like pubs and the hospitality trade are an easy touch.
“We spent thousands of pounds getting the place ready to reopen and making it safe for customers and staff.”
After full lockdown Paul opened an outside area in the newly pedestrianised Union Street.
He said: “We’re lucky we’ve got food, if we didn’t have food we would have to shut and furlough all the staff again.
“We’ve got all the staff back not but they’ll have to go back to reduced hours again.
“We’ve got the licence for outside until 9pm so we will keep it open until then if the demand is there but in the middle of October, I don’t know if it will be.
“We’ll have to play it by ear and might even have to make the decision on a daily basis.”
Chris Fleming, manager at BrewDog, said: “It’s difficult to say if people will still come out – we’re reliant on the weather.
“We’ll have to see how the first week goes and then make a decision about the next week but at the moment we plan to keep our outside area open until 10pm.
“We were already in the process of getting patio heaters so we’ve not had to change too much but we have had to expedite the process.”
Meanwhile, other pubs have announced they will close while the new rules are in place, including the Bowbridge Bar, Doc Ferry’s, The Auld Hoose in Perth and the Eagle Coaching Inn in Broughty Ferry.
Eagle owner Debbie Findlay said: “We have no other choice.
“The Scottish Licenced Trade Association published figures which showed 2.8% of Track and Trace is tracked back to pubs and 44% is traced back to schools [in England].
“It is ludicrous, last week we had 18 hours of trade taken away from us and now this week it is like a slow death because this is going to put businesses under.
“Our overhead costs will still be the same, the electricity doesn’t know there are only 10 people in the pub, and all our fridges and coolers need to be on when we are open.
“The waste will be phenomenal as well because once you put a keg on it can’t be left or resealed. That is it ruined.”
She added: “They think we are some kind of horrific establishment just there to give people alcohol but great things are being done by pubs every single day of the week.
“Lots of the regulars will miss coming in and socialising with each other and during lockdown all the pubs in Broughty Ferry set up a food bank with no money.
“The government is forgetting lots of pubs did this.
“They think people in pubs are drinking alcohol and becoming so inhibited they can’t control themselves but that is an insult to the trade and a slap in the face.
“It is appalling.”