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“People have got to live,” said Raymond McAllister, sitting with two pals in the cosy wood-panelled bar of the Lismore in Partick, “and pubs are doing a good job of sticking to the guidelines. I feel 95% safer in here than I do walking through a supermarket.” The 65-year-old heavy-goods driver was enjoying his day off in advance of the shutdown of pubs, bars and restaurants across Glasgow and central Scotland for the next 16 days.
“I know it’s difficult and the government’s just going by what the experts tell them,” he said. “But it seems a bit hypocritical when they say you can sell coffee but not alcohol. Nothing’s straightforward.”
As regulars braced themselves for 6pm, many raised the obvious concern that a complete closure of establishments such as this one would only push people to have more prohibited house parties. They also said it would cut off essential social contact, especially for older customers. “It’s pensioners’ paradise here on a Tuesday afternoon,” said one.
“It’s bad,” said Stewart Anderson, 69, sipping a pint of Guinness at a pavement trestle table. “Three of us come here every day to sit outside. I live on my own, so I’ll just sit in the house. At least I’ve got a garden.”
Further into town, Edward McLoone was sanguine about living with the harshest restrictions anywhere in the UK for the next fortnight. Grabbing a coffee by George Square before an appointment to give blood, he said: “People need to do what they’re told sometimes.”
The shutdown would not affect the 40-year-old railway engineer greatly: he had only been out in the city centre once in recent months, for a birthday meal. “It felt OK in the restaurant, where everything was set out safely, but outside people were falling over each other.”
As Police Scotland announced that additional patrols would assist local authorities in ensuring pubs and restaurants closed on time, the notion that rule-breakers needed tougher regulations to jolt them into compliance was shared by Simon Cairns, working on a building site near Ingram Street. When Nicola Sturgeon announced tougher regulations for central Scotland – which is responsible for 75% of new coronavirus cases – she spoke of the need for a “short, sharp action to arrest a worrying increase in infection”.
For Cairns, 46, the public needed a “big kick”, and he advocated going even further. “I think we need to shut down the lot, everything within reason, then people will buck up their ideas.
“I do feel sorry for businesses but too many people are disregarding the advice, especially on public transport. They’re not taking it seriously and they don’t realise they are endangering people.”
With the shutdown looming, some businesses complained that guidance on what types of premises were allowed to remain open was confusing, after Sturgeon introduced an exemption for cafes on Thursday.
Scottish government guidance defining what constitutes a cafe was published on Friday morning with less than six hours to go before the rules came into force. At her lunchtime media briefing, Sturgeon told businesses that, if they were in doubt, they should close. Adding that she “readily accepts there has been a lack of clarity” over the past 24 hours, she said “it has come from us trying to be more flexible”.
North of George Square, Liz Wayt was on a break from teaching on the make-up artistry course at City of Glasgow College. “The students here have mixed feelings about the shutdown,” said the 30-year-old. “Some are disappointed they can’t go out for the October week holiday, but a lot of them are staying in anyway.” It would not have much effect on her own social plans: “I’m mostly staying in. I’ve just got used to it since March.”
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: The last-chance saloon: Glaswegians contemplate 16 days with no pubs | World news