Kirkcaldy pubs count down to long-awaited re-opening on Monday
Kirkcaldy pubs which have been unable to operate so far due to restrictions are preparing to re-open on Monday with the rules easing on indoor hospitality.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that Scotland will move into Level 2 from Monday which means pubs and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol indoors with up to six adults from three households.
But hospitality will be subject to a 10.30pm curfew, table service and customers will have to book two-hour time slots.
The move has been welcomed from the owners of Kirkcaldy pubs who have been unable to open their businesses until now.
This includes John and Nan Wilson, proprietors of Betty Nicols’ pub in Kirkcaldy’s Merchants’ Quarter.
But it won’t be business as usual when they open on May 17 as they have had to review their model to take account of social distancing measures which are still in place.
They have plans to offer bistro food.
John said: “The pandemic has seen us have to lose a full time member of staff and the closure has meant a struggle with cash flow after such a long time with no revenue.
"We have invested in a redecoration of our bar and in particular, our bistro.
"Previously, our former function room was regularly booked out, but we will now be unable to use it due to social distancing measures.
"However, the redecoration has created a warm ambience and a character ideal for dining.
"We have developed a new bistro menu which will be available between 5.00pm and 9.00pm on Friday and Saturday evenings. We also have a new, traditional bar food menu, available until 3.00pm Monday to Saturday.
On Sundays, we will now be offering meals, which includes a Sunday roast, between 1pm and 6.30pm in our bistro.
"It is going to be a challenge for the business as long as social distancing is required.
Our licensed capacity of 141 is down to 45 to enable social distancing, it is not possible to sustain the business long term with these customer reductions.”
He added: “We will require the continued support of our regulars to survive through the capacity reductions in addition to attracting new customers at weekends.
"But, we are so excited about welcoming back our regulars, some we have not seen for seven long months.
"We have been taking table bookings for several days now, it is such a great feeling to be welcoming everyone back.”
Meanwhile, another pub in the town which will be re-opening is The Wheatsheaf Inn in Tolbooth Street.
Owner Fiona Shields said: “We are now full steam ahead with ordering, stocking up, ready to burst open our doors and thrust our new found vigour on our ever so precious Wheatsheaf family.
"I am sad to say we have lost a few staff in the last few months with a few going on to find alternative employment.”
She said lunches will be back on from 11.00am to 3.00pm but at present there will be no evening meals, adding: "Unfortunately we are reducing capacity in effect losing two thirds to keep within government guidelines but our locals are the reason we survive through these hard times and they will help us bounce back.”