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Outdoor drinking just won't wash in Scotland


By Richard at Great Grog

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Pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces will be the first to open.
Pubs and restaurants with outdoor spaces will be the first to open.

How on earth are we ever going to be able to social distance in pubs and restaurants?

In fact, what exactly is social distancing? Surely it should be called anti-social distancing anyway. There is nothing social about the fabric of society being rumpled and ruptured by advice from government.

The World Health Organisation recommends a distance of one metre. The UK is going with two metres. Does that make us twice as safe?

I don’t think the advisors on the two metres guidance have ever been to a small independent pub or eatery where service is “up close and personal”. Maybe they were thinking of a MacDonald’s drive through (sorry, thru).

I read an excellent spoof article this week about proposed minimum drinking limits due to reduced capacity in pubs. It suggested landlords would have to ask people to leave as they weren’t drinking nearly enough. A humorous response to reduced capacity but the reality might not be so amusing. The ones with outdoor space will fare better for sure.

The sun is shining as I write but, with this being Scotland, it is probably raining by the time you read it. The shift towards summer brings with it the tendency for people to pick a bottle of rosé wine and stroll outdoors. I love a wee cheeky dry rosé at this time of year.

They just seem to be getting better and better at making rosé and the pale, delicate pink versions from the south of France (Cotes du Rhône and Provence) are my absolute favourites: refreshingly dry, crisp and with balancing raspberry fruit. What’s not to like?

Outdoors is definitely the safer place to be for the next wee whiley, although outdoor eating in Scotland in the summer isn’t quite the same thing as the one that continental Europeans enjoy.

Europe has allowed cafés, restaurants and bars to reopen primarily on an outdoor basis. This doesn’t wash in Scotland – midges and lashing rain will conspire against it.

For the sake of the leisure and hospitality industry, we can only hope that the government advice on space and distance reduces to advice on “common-sense practice” rather than a mandatory two-metre rule. Else-wise bars and restaurants will be doomed never to reopen and we will all have to go around with bad home haircuts for many, many months to come.


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