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Pubs and bars in Inverness are adapting following coronavirus restrictions easing

By Ian Duncan

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Makeup artist Sam Whitby with husband Keith and Bea the dog at MacGregors bar. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Makeup artist Sam Whitby with husband Keith and Bea the dog at MacGregors bar. Picture: Callum Mackay.

Changes at pubs around Inverness are not putting punters off coming in for a drink.

Bruce MacGregor, who runs MacGregor's in Academy Street, said he was pleased with how things were going and people were generally getting used to the new arrangements.

He said: "People are sticking to the guidelines and they are really understanding how it's all working."

MacGregor's was among those bars able to open its outside beer garden before the restrictions were further eased with indoor hospitality areas allowed, with a number of safety measures, from July 15.

He said he had received positive feedback from customers and suppliers.

He added: "Everyone is asking when we are starting the music again. Hopefully that will not be too long."

Mr MacGregor said that tourists were also asking about the return of the music and he felt that was because they had seen online performances during lockdown.

He said social media had proved useful in promoting the business and getting the brand more widely known, while food vendors selling meals in the beer garden gave the bar a head start.

He added: "We've got the pop-up restaurants coming in and that is a thing that made a big difference."

Mr MacGregor said when he recently posted a photo of a locally produced pork pie it had received almost 400 likes on Facebook and Instagram. "It's a pork pie but it does look special," he said.

Tina MacDonald, the general manager at Johnny Foxes and The Den, said they had initially created a new outside seated area which had proved popular with customers.

Johnny Foxes. Picture: Callum Mackay.
Johnny Foxes. Picture: Callum Mackay.

The venue has since reopened the inside of Johnny Foxes and was hoping to also reopen The Den today (Thursday July 30).

Safety measures which have been introduced at the bar include: socially distanced seating; signs; hand sanitising stations; limited number in the toilets at any one time; temperature testing; and a track and trace booking system.

She said it was nice to see the tourists returning and added: "It's a huge difference to how we normally operate but the feedback has been fantastic. These are changed times but it has been well received."

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