Scottish pubs call last orders as 16-day lockdown comes into force

9 October 2020, 19:17 | Updated: 9 October 2020, 19:26

A member of staff closes a door of The Beehive pub in the Grassmarket following last orders at 6pm on October 9, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
The new measures will apply for a minimum of 16 days across Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley. Picture: Getty

Pubs across central Scotland have called their last orders and locked up, as tough new coronavirus restrictions came into force at 6pm on Friday.

In a huge blow to the industry, restaurants and pubs in the area will be shuttered until at least 25 October, although cafes are allowed to stay open until 6pm.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the new measures on Wednesday afternoon, which will apply to Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley.

In the rest of Scotland pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes can operate indoors between 6am and 6pm. Alcohol cannot be served indoors, but can be sold outside until 10pm.

Read more: What are the new restrictions in Scotland?

Read more: Coronavirus 'is getting out of control,' says skills minister

Similar measures to close hospitality in Northern England are reportedly being considered by Downing Street, as coronavirus cases in some areas of the UK reached over 500 per 100,000 in the last week.

There were boos at The Captain’s Bar in Edinburgh as the bell was rung for last orders. Pam McGregor told LBC’s Alan Zycinski they had only managed to open eight weeks prior.

“I am very, very sad and I hope it is only sixteen days because this is torture for us,” she explained.

“If they feel that this is going to work we are going to go along with it, but it is not the best. We have been shut for a long time... and it has been very quiet.

“Obviously with the curfew, no students and nobody is allowed to play music either, which is what we enjoy doing - bit of a community spirit, it is all lost.”

Meanwhile, Karina Bowlby, who owns The Fat Pheasant at Newton, near Edinburgh, told the PA news agency that pub staff were “absolutely broken” by the closure.

"Last weekend, we were fully booked and the team were on a high thinking, 'This is great, we've got everyone's trust and confidence back again, things are going to be really good from now on'.

"It was extremely hard seeing their faces when that announcement came through on Thursday because they looked absolutely broken.

"They looked like they'd had the wind completely taken out of them."

Over the last seven days there have been 6,346 cases reported in Scotland, as the second wave of coronavirus resurges across the UK.

As part of the new measures to combat the virus people in the central belt of Scotland have been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks.

Scots across the country will also now be expected to wear a mask in communal settings such as workplace canteens, corridors and break rooms.

Police Scotland Chief Constable Iain Livingstone said: “From the start of this pandemic the people of Scotland have overwhelmingly demonstrated considerable personal responsibility and they know adhering to the rules is the best way to combat the spread of coronavirus.”

But added: “I recognise that restrictions have changed quickly and often, but I truly do not believe that anyone in Scotland can be in any doubt that house gatherings and house parties allow the virus to spread and are unlawful.”