Watch: Hospitality workers protest new Scottish restrictions
Hospitality workers have dumped leftover ice outside Scottish Parliament and other locations around the country in protest over their venues being shut.
New restrictions brought in to curb the spread of coronavirus mean pubs and other licenced premises in five areas in central Scotland – including Glasgow and Edinburgh – will remain closed for 16 days.
A letter posted to the Glasgow Bartenders Club said venues in Edinburgh were leaving the remaining contents of their ice machines outside parliament after closing at 6pm on Friday to begin the lockdown.
Caitlin Lee, a worker at Blythswood Square Hotel in the city who has just survived redundancy, was among the crowd supporting her industry colleagues.
She said: “Our occupancy within the hotel is obviously expecting to drop because people can’t go out.”
Lee added: “We’re now in a position where we don’t know what’s going to happen – hospitality and everyone in hospitality has already went through the first wave of not being able to work and now we’re coming into a second wave of it.
“Are we going to be able to work into Christmas and New Year?”
Dozens of employees from bars and pubs in Glasgow took their ice to outside the City Chambers at George Square although the letter made clear it was not a local council issue.
People wearing masks gathered and cheered as more ice was poured on the pile – with a truckload also arriving but unable to drive down along the road outside the City Chambers.
Chloe Fraser, who previously worked in the hospitality industry for 10 years, said: “Hospitality is having to spend a lot of money putting the screens up, having to do all of these extra things which they’ve been abiding by in Glasgow.
“What’s happening after hours is the issue… these independent companies can’t afford these losses. That’s why we’re seeing this.”
A similar event was also planned for Union Street in Aberdeen.
Until October 25, pubs, bars and restaurants will be closed in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran – affecting more than three million people.
These venues can offer a takeaway service, and cafes within the central belt are allowed to stay open during the day, but cannot serve alcohol.
Elsewhere in the country, hospitality venues can open inside from 6am to 6pm to sell soft drinks and food and can serve alcohol outside only until 10pm.
On Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the action was necessary to avoid more fatalities after a further six coronavirus-related deaths were recorded in the past 24 hours, adding the decision was “horrendously difficult” to make.
The Scottish Government said it will make an additional £40 million available for affected businesses.
Coronavirus: what happened today