Legal requirement for test and protect likely following Aberdeen lockdown

Stephen Gow

It could become law next week for all pubs, restaurants, bars and hotels to take the details of their customers rather than guidance after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon imposed a local lockdown on Aberdeen following a cluster outbreak emanating from the cities licensed trade. It is likely that other guidance measures will also be introduced to reduce any confusion regarding what is required to keep Covid-19 infection rates down in licensed premises.

Today First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is likely to reveal a further increase in the Aberdeen Cluster numbers despite the city being in lockdown. Yesterday she revealed a further 25 new cases linked to the cluster, taking the number of positive cases in the Grampian area with a further 30 cases under investigation and a total of 79 cases confirmed as associated with the cluster.

However,  she has also said that despite the fact that  28 licensed trade venues were involved in the outbreak she is not suggesting the same person visited all the venues. She said, “What we are not saying is that one particular person has visited all of these premises, different people, different locations.”  However, it has put the issue of pub crawls firmly on the Government’s agenda and the practice is now under review.

NHS Grampian named 28 bars and restaurants, three golf clubs and a football club as venues visited by people linked to the cluster. They are: The Bieldside Inn; The Bobbin; Brewdog; Buckie Farm Carvery; Cafe Andaluz; Cafe Dag; Cafe Drummond; The Cock and Bull; The College Bar; The Dutch Mill; Dyce Carvery; East End Social Club; Ferryhill House Hotel; The Hawthorn; The Howff, The Justice Mill, The Marine Hotel, McGinty’s; McNasty’s; Malmaison; Moonfish Cafe, No 10 Bar; O’Donoghues; Old Bank Bar; Prohibition; Soul; The Spiders Web, and The Draft Project. As well as Aboyne Golf Club, Deeside Golf Club, Hazlehead Golf Club and Banks O’ Dee Football Club.

The First Minister also revealed that cases were increasing in Glasgow too with a further 17 cases in Great Glasgow and Clyde. She said that this was a “relatively large number”  and that they were investigating further.  Last night the news also broke that eight Aberdeen footballers had socialised in one of the venues and two have been confirmed as positive.

One Aberdeen pub has taken issue with fellow licensees who have not been following the Government guidelines. In a social post Casc stated, “We would like to take this opportunity to address the bars who f***** it up for everyone. You, who put the shilling before the safety of the customer and your staff, have ruined it for the rest of us. Seriously, nae cool, folks.”The post continued, “You have single handily put the livelihoods of hundreds of bar staff, and businesses at further risk, at the benefit of your own pocket.”  With a further, “For our friends in the industry who put up the good fight, and who did hold standards high, we salute you.”

While one of the named pubs McNasty’s, which closed voluntarily the day before closedown due to the fact that a customer had called them after testing positive for Covid-19,  said that despite being named they had not been contacted (as of last night) by the NHS Test and Protect Scheme so they had taken it into their hands to call all their customers in the pub at the same time.  In its post which it shared on twitter with Nicola Sturgeon the pub owners said, “More than 24 hours since closing our doors voluntarily, we STILL have had no contact from NHS Grampian or NHS Test and Protect.

“As responsible owners and licence holders, we have put every possible measure in place to protect our staff and customers accordingly. Therefore, we are most concerned at this stage that there has been absolutely no contact from any of the bodies who are responsible for tracing and notifying the general public of potential close contact instances. It continued, “We can confirm that throughout our Virtual Check-in system which was installed prior to the re-opening of our bar we have ourselves contacted everyone who check-in in on Saturday and informed them of the situation. ”

Stephen Gow, (pictured) general manager of The Chester Hotel Aberdeen commented, “We are supportive of the localised lockdown in Aberdeen to keep as many people as safe as possible.

“As a business we chose to remain operating wholly outdoors with proper physical distancing even when we were permitted to move indoors again as we felt our guests would appreciate – and feel safer – being served alfresco. We also made the decision not to reopen our bedrooms until we felt confident that the risks remained very low in the area.

“It’s extremely unfortunate that a minority of the population was unable to abide by sensible physical distancing and this has led to us having to send all of our staff home again when they have all done the hotel proud.”

Nicola Sturgeon has said, “Every single one of us is the first line of defence – our job to make sure the fires don’t start in the first place.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon concluded, “We are at a stage of this pandemic where extreme caution is still necessary. Acting now gives us the time and the space to protect the ability of our young people to return to full-time education.”

The current restrictions will be reviewed every seven days in discussion with local partners. The Scottish Government has not ruled out extending restrictions if necessary to protect public health.


Category: Coronavirus, Editors' Picks
Tags: Aberdeen, COVID-19