Fife restaurants welcome relaxation of lockdown restrictions

Restaurants around Fife have welcomed the news that Covid-19 lockdown restrictions are to be eased next month.

Tuesday, 16th March 2021, 5:06 pm
Will Docker from Balgove Larder.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that pubs, cafes and restaurants will be able to re-open from April 26.

This will be limited initially to the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm, and for groups of up to four people from no more than two households.

Ruth Robinson from The Dory in Pittenweem said: "Overall, we are glad to have somewhat firm dates. I am disappointed about the restrictions on alcohol and opening hours between April 26 and May 16 as we have no outside seating. We are therefore having to make a decision about opening with reduced turnover until May 17. The evidence that is behind these decisions on indoor seating in restaurants is still lacking so it is annoying to be penalised."

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Vicki Wood from the Wee Restaurant in North Queensferry added: "It’s great that indoor dining is going to be allowed until 8pm from April 26, all being well. We are disappointed that the sale of alcohol remains off limits indoors for restaurants. Reduced numbers still in place due to social distancing, reduced operational hours and no alcohol sales continues to make it difficult to earn a living through hospitality. We are glad we are able to open in April.”

Craig Millar from 16 West End, St Monans, however, was critical, saying: "So pretty much gearing towards May 17. Not sure what the government’s thinking is with the no alcohol indoors and closing at 8pm but you can drink outside until 10pm: it’s just not viable for a restaurant."

Will Docker, chair of Food from Fife and owner of Balgove Larder, said the announcement was “better than expected”.

He added: “At Balgove Larder we’re really lucky to have the large, flexible outdoor seating areas that we can expand so the easing of restrictions around this are very welcome. It’s good news too that we’ll be able to welcome people back into the cafe and steak barn, albeit in a more restricted way until May.

“We’re really happy to see the lifting of travel restrictions between regions too – this means not only that our loyal day visitors can return from areas like Dundee – but that holiday makers from further afield can visit the area again. I think the wider tourism economy from St Andrews and the surrounding area will very much welcome that. The devil is in the detail with so many of these changes so we’ll certainly be seeking advice from environmental health officers locally too – but broadly this is good news for our industry that has been so badly affected by the restrictions.”

Rosie Jack from Bowhouse said the announcement was a “step in the right direction”, adding: “We’ll continue with our Fife-focused (‘Stay Local’) Bowhouse market in April but on May 8 and 9, we’re looking forward to welcoming visitors from outside the region and traders beyond Fife too. Over the last year, we’ve seen our weekly online local shopping platform, Bowhouse Link, continue to grow and have even been able to expand deliveries to the Dundee area – it will be great to be able to welcome back those visitors from outside Fife to our market weekends in May.”