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Let the games commence

The amount of work required in reopening hospitality is massive. Team

Dear lovely people

We’ve been closed for 4 months. On 16th March we were told the 26th April would be our reopen date, this week we were told we would probably be able to open on 20th April. Confused?

The amount of work required in reopening hospitality is massive. Team, suppliers, compliance, maintenance, marketing, it’s a Mo Farah 10,000 metres, Daley Thompson decathlon with Nadia Comaneci on the uneven bars just for fun. Throwing in a potential shift to the target by six days just adds so much more confusion and so much more unnecessary work and worry.Hospitality isn’t a garden fete egg and spoon race.

Only 20% of Scottish bars will be able to open under current restrictions on 26th April and less than 25% for the whole of the hospitality sector in Scotland has any outdoor space. With no alcohol sales inside until late May, at current estimates, this makes trade unsustainable for the majority. Government financial support will be removed from 19th April leaving many businesses still unsure of their future.

We still don’t know if a family of 5 can dine inside from 26th April. We don’t know the rules around young children. Are they included in the rule of 4? Our household now sits at 6 guests ( I can’t believe I typed guests not family, Casa Contini does feel like a hotel, come holding cell. That reminds me I need to complain to housekeeping!). We don’t know if we are allowed to dine as a family in our own restaurants? How crazy is that!

There are many other reports supporting strong pent up demand for hospitality. Hurray, we’ve got your bookings coming in thick and fast, thank you! We hope to take one of the team offfurlough next week to be able to manage these bookings by telephone rather than all online.

We’ve had many enquiries for your events and we are as desperate as you to be able to look after you, for all your special occasions. The guidelines at present restrict groups of more than 4 inside. Unless it’s a wedding which has separate regulations. We are allowing parties to book in multiples of 4 but each table must be treated as a separate booking through our booking system. I’m sorry but this is the only way we feel we can be compliant at this stage. We are hopeful that post summer there will be some further relaxations around this. Keep sending your enquiries and we will deal with them as best we can.

We’ve estimated that before Covid over 60% of our income was generated by bookings of more than 6 guests. Having these unknowns around group numbers and with further financial support being removed from the sector later in the month, this shows again the lack of understanding from the Government of how most of hospitality works.

Without any question the challenges our business has experienced over the last year have been the hardest of my life.

We’ve never watched more television. I feel like I’ve been sewn to the couch. Although Rocco has more of the couch than any oneof us. (I can’t believe we’ve got a dog and the dog sits on the sofa, with his rug, but this is just another reminder of how crazy life is. Actually Rocco is a traitor, he spends more time on Nonna G’s lap than anywhere, we’re convinced she’s got a stash of treats in her granny pockets). We’re not even watching any sport, which used to be the only reason to have us couch bound. “The Pianist” and “The Help” are our top film tips for this week. Some of the worst parts of human history are portrayed passionately and provocatively but with a little glimmer of hope to always remind us that good can win.

We need to get out of this trap. I’m feeling claustrophobic. I was never an athlete, my waistline is sadly highlighting this fact now, but I can remember sports day and the same adrenaline before the race is building. Opening the restaurants and running serviceis our champions league. We need to hear the firing gun and they can’t fire it six days before we are due to start.

CDC (Centres for Disease Control) say the risk of catching Covid from a surface is low. Airborne droplets account for more of the transmission. Daily washing surfaces with soap and water is now recommended. Hand washing, sanitiser and face coverings are still part of the rules. We don’t plan to clean any less, but if we can reduce the amount of chemicals in the process this can only be a good thing.

Family and friends in Italy and France being back in Lockdown is keeping my optimism subdued. Apparently tomorrow, on Monday 12th April, we’ll reach herd immunity in the UK at 73.4%. Is this our real “good to go” moment?

According to my lovely hairdresser (thank you for squeezing me in before we open) their guests are desperate to get out and feeling more confident having had the vaccination.

We need to continue to be careful but let’s face it, I’m as desperate as Usain Bolt to get off the couch and past the start line.

Are you ready?We will be:-)

Keep well and keep safe and thank you as always for all your support, it is so greatly appreciated.


PS. Our thoughts and prayers are with The Queen and the Royal Family following the recent death of The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip.


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