Inverurie Garden Centre boss gutted at new lockdown restrictions as Christmas goes on the brink and the mainland is shut down for 3 weeks

The boss of the restaurant at the Inverurie Garden Centre says he is “gutted” and it’s a “hard pill to swallow” that all non-essential shops and hospitality will be made to close again from one minute after Christmas Day.

For the Inverurie Garden Centre it means the premises will close for the required three weeks, with the restaurant boss saying takeaways will not be offered as it is not viable for them.

Nicola Sturgeon came on air in a special Coronavirus update on Saturday evening to announce the new measures, which included strongly advising against travel between England and Scotland.

New rules in wake of highly contagious strain

Due to what the FM described as the ‘most dangerous juncture since March’ having received information about a new strain of the virus, rules have been changed at the eleventh hour and Christmas has been turned on its head.

The new rules are:

  • Planned easing of restrictions around Christmas will be limited to Christmas Day itself.
  • Household limits will still apply – a maximum of 8 people from 3 households – however advice is to minimise the numbers.
  • Other than for specific exemptions, travel between Scotland and the rest of the UK will not be legal.
  • Travel within Scotland will be allowed on Christmas Day.
  • From Boxing Day, all of Scotland will have Level 4 restrictions applied, including the closure of non-essential retail and hospitality. The only exceptions will be Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles, and the other island communities who will be placed in Level 3.

Hard pill to swallow for Inverurie restaurant boss frustrated by further restrictions.

“You put a lot of effort into setting up as a functioning business under the new systems and it’s just ever changing. You’re always on the back foot which is hard.”

Simon Robertson is head of the restaurant at the popular Inverurie Garden and Machine Centre next to the Inverurie train station.

Having already had the arduous task of guiding the restaurant through the first lockdown back in March, Simon says he’s becoming increasingly frustrated at the constant changing of the goalposts.

Simon told The Reporter: “You put a lot of effort into setting up as a functioning business under the new systems and it’s just ever changing. You’re always on the back foot which is hard.”

Head of the Inverurie Garden Centre restaurent Simon Robertson says it’s a “hard pill to swallow” having to shut again for three weeks from Boxing Day

Simon, who is one of the directors of the company, says as the garden centre is ordered to close staff will be put on furlough.

This means workers receiving a 20 per cent pay cut at a difficult time of year, trying to claw back money splurged on Christmas.

Simon is grateful for the furlough scheme, but is aware that closing puts his staff under added financial strain.

On his staff, Simon said: “I feel sorry for them at the end of the day. They start getting the hours under their belt and the money coming back in their pockets and once again the rugs been pulled out from underneath them and we’re back to square one again.

“It’s going to be tough on them, but I guess that something is better than nothing.”

On whether further redundancies would have to be made Simon was cautiously optimistic this will be avoided.

“It depends on the bounce back again. I know it was a bit of a struggle last time. I just think it will hopefully bounce back quicker than it did before which will mean just a small skim of hours here or there to keep everyone still employed.

“I’m gutted about it all, but if there are no other options and it’s keeping everybody safe then I guess it’s the right thing to do.”

Further articles:
Listen: Tribute to the 2019 Cromarty Film Festival as 2020 event, which always goes ahead in December, is cancelled
Long history there as Lord Provost believes Aberdeen was dealt with harshly by central gov in administering of local lockdowns
Watch: New craft cider company sets up in Maryculter. ‘Seidear’ uses only Scottish apples and unique champagne methods to produce its cider
Local ‘Community Jazz Big Band’ dedicate first album to late publican Sandy Brown who gave up his pub for free to practice and who sadly passed away this year – see where to buy CD in article

What does tier 4 mean?
Tier 4 rules include:

  • You can meet people from other households outdoors. The maximum number of people who can meet is 6 which can be from up to 2 separate households.
  • Restaurants, cafes, pubs and bars will be closed, but takeaways can still operate.
  • You must not travel into or out of Level 3 and 4 local authority areas except for essential reasons.
  • Only essential retail will be able to remain open in Level 4 including food retailers, off-licences, newsagents and petrol stations.
  • Tradespeople should only go into a house in a level 4 area to carry out or deliver essential work or services including repairs and maintenance that would threaten the household’s health and safety.

Full guidance can be found at the Scottish Gov website; here.

Sturgeon misses out on the final of Strictly to tell the nation the bad news

Nicola Sturgeon pulled out the most ominous of her weekly briefing personas as she told the nation “she could cry” at the new restrictions having to be imposed during this time of year.

The First Minister said: “The most important thing we have learned through this pandemic is that failing to act quickly, decisively and preventatively in the face of this virus is always a mistake. It is why cabinet has decided that further action is necessary and that it needs to be firm.

“I know how unfair it is. But the virus is unfair. It does not care about Christmas.”

National Clinical Director Jason Leitch was at the briefing and said the public must continue to be wary.

Professor Leitch said: “The virus has changed but our fundamental methods of fighting back have stayed the same. For now the vaccination works, the test works and our limited treatments for those with the illness works, but the most important fact is that your behaviour works.

“Every time you leave home act as if you are infectious, wear a face covering, avoid crowds, clean your hands and keep distanced.”

Sturgeon went straight to social media to communicate her worries
The FM is hopeful about the rollout of the vaccine

Reaction to the Goverment’s Saturday announcement on social media

I could understand restricting travel to and from tier 4 areas in England but to ban it for the whole of the UK feels harsh. So we can go anywhere in Scotland on Christmas day but not a few miles over the border to visit my mum, almost 70 living alone?

I think people forget @NicolaSturgeon is a person with a family too. Do you think she enjoys telling us about deaths everyday? She has hardly had a day off since this all started. For her to announce at 5.30 on a Saturday and delay school returns indicates to me she is worried.

What about schools that have scheduled prelims for just after the Christmas holidays. Can they go ahead? Is there no end to the damage you are doing to young people, their education, and their futures?

Some common sense please: close schools now; provide pupils and teachers with devices and skills to enable remote learning.

@JohnSwinney Please please don’t make 5/6th yr pupils stay home/home learn for any longer than the 11th! Completely unfair and irreversible damage and pressure on them just so people can spread and mix their germs for one day! I love Christmas but not at this cost!

I’m a grandparent and may NOT be here next Xmas, so I WILL be seeing my family this year no matter what.

People are randomly asking questions about their situation – never mind and do what you want to do. You decide your tolerance for risk, not the government.

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