Sue Says – can you afford not to do track and trace?

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Three pubs had to close in Lanarkshire last week – they had visits from staff that were working for the Call Centre at the heart of the recent Covid-19 outbreak – so they had to close for a deep clean. While in Oban a cafe had to shut because one of their staff contracted the virus and tested positive. It just emphasises how important it is to maintain the Covid-19 precautions in your venues – from social distancing to wiping down all surfaces regularly and providing hand sanitiser and of course I would not be having customers in without doing ‘Track and Trace’ or ‘Trace and Protect’. For our industry, the word ‘protect’ is certainly crucial – if want to protect our business we need to protect our customers and employees.  Nobody wants to close again and the power of social media is such that if customers don’t feel safe they can, within two minutes, decimate your business by going on Facebook and having a rant.  Right now everyone is cautious and we need to give them confidence – if may feel like overkill but rather overkill than closed!

Some people have been really busy since the lifting of lockdown measures but for some, it has been slower than anticipated and for others, who have been rammed, the stark reality is kicking in – costs are outweighing the revenue, and that can’t be sustained long-term. So the sooner we can get rid of social distancing the better and the only way that is going to happen is if the infection rate stays down. So we all have our bit to do – we must encourage folk to be sensible and careful. They say younger folk and drunk folk can’t maintain social distancing… if they can’t and they are in your premises – move them on.

I love the steps some folk are taking to make a coin – SWG3 in Glasgow are offering party groups of 15 people space in their Ronnie’s Bar and Bike Shop garden terrace for four hours for £200, it includes a welcome drink. I can’t make use of the offer – I find it hard to rustle up four friends never 15!

Mind you charging people for making a reservation I do think is the way ahead – the number of no shows that have reported over the last two weeks is really disgusting. I think what is happening is that people are booking two hours slots and then not making it to their next one or booking multiple slots and then depending on their mood choosing where to go. It has been a problem in London for a while – but this is the first time it appears to be rearing its ugly head here. Here’s hoping now that people are becoming aware of how it impacts on your business that there will be less of it.

I think the variety of outdoor areas that I’ve seen so far have been absolutely amazing – the effort that folk have gone to – although it did amuse me when I saw the ‘worst one in Scotland’ highlighted in the press – it was literally the bin area.

I was really sorry to hear about the death of Jamie Murray one of the brothers behind the Ship Inn in Irvine. My thoughts are with his family. He really was a great guy. I know it has left very many people shocked and upset, me too. When the magazine is back we will do an obituary I am sure many of you will want to contribute.

Another unexpected death during the last few weeks was that of Brenda Thomson of The Crookston Hotel a very popular landlady. Her mass was held on 21st July. Brenda’s obituary will be in the next issue of the DRAM which will be out the first week in August.

The UK Government has published a call for evidence for a fundamental review of business rates, something for which the trade body has the trade has been pushing for.  It has also confirmed that the next revaluation of non-domestic property in England, previously scheduled for 1 April 2021, will now take effect on 1 April 2023. Here’s hoping that the Scottish  Government follows suit.

The Government has also said it recognises the need to reform the current duty system to support the pub sector in the longer term and will publish a call for evidence before end September 2020.

UKHospitality Chief Executive Kate Nicholls said: “Securing a full review of the business rates system has been a priority for UKHospitality and its predecessor trade bodies for years. We identified it as the largest barrier to growth in our sector years ago. We have pushed extremely hard to convince the Government to act on this, so it is great to finally see positive action.

Lastly but not least we WILL be running our awards this year – and we will be out and about judging – the voting will be up and running from the 3rd August – so share it with your customers. The date is 20th October – I am so hoping that we don’t have to shift it any later – but by hook or by crook we will be celebrating all that is good and great about the trade as soon as. It’s good to be back!

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