Bars, cafes and restaurants in Aberdeen are opening again for the first time in three weeks after a local lockdown was lifted.
Hospitality businesses shut on 5 August after a spike in Covid-19 cases linked to bars and nightlife in the city.
Venues are only able to open once they have passed a site inspection by environmental health officers.
Stuart McPhee, who runs Siberia Bar and Hotel, predicted things would be “very different” this time around.
The opening up of the hospitality trade come after a five-mile restriction on travel ended on Monday.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she was grateful to the people of Aberdeen for complying with the rules that had been put in place.
Mr McPhee is part of a recently-created group called Aberdeen Hospitality Together, an industry body set up to help the sector recover from the Covid situation.
He said of the fresh re-opening: “I think it will be very different. The first reopening was very much that kind of release of pressure from that three-month lockdown.
“I think we will have all learned lessons from the local lockdown, and I think we will all be operating in new ways.
“Especially from our own point of view, we are really looking to rebuild that confidence with the customer and just let them know it is safe to come back in to our environments and that we are doing everything that we can to keep them safe.”
‘New lockdown even harder’
Lorenzo Maraviglia works at Union Cafe and Bistro.
He said of re-opening: “I’m really happy – this has been a very tough period. The business has suffered a lot.
“We were doing takeaways and deliveries but it wasn’t giving the business what it needs to keep running.
“No-one can afford another lockdown.”
He explained: “After two days of the ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ offer, everything closed, so we couldn’t let people use it. It was a shame.
“This new lockdown has been even harder for us than the previous one. Before when we were just doing takeaways, we were fine, we were managing to operate without much trouble.
“But, this new lockdown was very hard. The amount of business reduced so much because other businesses in the area were closed and there were less people in the city centre again.”
Hospitality business owners are being urged to get in touch with Aberdeen City Council if they have not already had an environmental health check.
Ahead of Sunday’s lockdown lifting announcement, talks were held involving the Scottish government, Aberdeen City Council, NHS Grampian and Police Scotland.
By Tuesday, 261 cases had been associated with the cluster linked to Aberdeen pubs, up two from Monday.
The local lockdown restrictions, which have affected 228,000 people in Aberdeen, were:
- bars, cafes, restaurants and pubs were closed
- no travel for more than five miles for leisure or holidays
- no travel to the city for leisure or to visit friends and family, even if you lived in Aberdeenshire
- no indoor visits with other households
- visiting suspended for most hospitals
A £1m support fund was set up for the city, with grants of up to £1,500 available for hospitality businesses.
F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport (buses, trains and taxis)
A – Avoid crowded places.
C – Clean your hands frequently, using water and soap whenever possible.
T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.
S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.