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Maybe an aspirin would work?

At 6pm on Friday further guidelines and a DRAFT document was released.  The catch! It's a brutal back door catch.  What is now expected

I write this weekly blog every Friday morning. This was my interpretation before 6pm. My thoughts post 6pm are detailed at the end.

My head hurts. Tuesday we “found” the updated “Protection Levels” on the Scottish Government website. These do vary with the ‘Timeline for Easing Coronavirus Restrictions’ on the same site but I’m going with the 10 page document not the 3 page summary.

I’ve deliberated, cogitated and digested, social distancing rules still apply in all scenarios, here goes……

*WHAT WE CAN DO IN HOSPITALITY

*WHAT WE CAN DO IN OUR HOMES

*LIFE EVENTS applies to Weddings, Civil Partnerships and Funerals but not a Wedding Anniversary

*STADIA & EVENTS covers things like the Festivals (and we are assuming this is our Corporate and Social Events too)

*GOING TO WORK DIRECTIVE


26th APRIL – Level 3

*6 guests from 2 households inside hospitality no alcohol (no mention of children) close 8pm

*6 guests from 6 households outside hospitality with alcohol (no mention of children) close 10pm

*No in-house socialising

*6 people from 6 households outdoors (under 12’s do not count towards these numbers but count towards the households)

*50 guests with alcohol

*Closed

*Work from home where possible


17 MAY estimate – Level 2 (ALCOHOL permitted in all social settings)

*6 guests from 3 households inside hospitality (no mention of children) close 10.30pm

*8 guests from 8 households outside hospitality (no mention of children) close 10pm

*4 people from 2 households can socialise in homes (under 12’s do not count towards these numbers but count towards the number of households)

*8 people from 8 households outdoors (under 12’s do not count towards these numbers but count towards the number of households)

*50 guests

*Indoor 100 guests Outdoor, seated 500, Outdoor free standing 250

*Work from home where possible


Early JUNE – Level 1

*8 guests from 3 households inside hospitality (no mention of children) close 11pm

*12 guests from 12 households outside hospitality with alcohol (no mention of children) close 10pm

*4 people from 2 households can socialise in homes (under 12’s do not count towards these numbers but count towards the number of households)

*8 people from 8 households outdoors (under 12’s do not count towards these numbers but count towards the number of households)

*100 guests

*Indoor 200 guests, Outdoor seated 1000, Outdoor free standing 500

*Work from home where possible


Late JUNE – Level 0

*10 guests from 4 households inside hospitality (no mention children) close 11pm

*15 guests from 15 households outside hospitality (no mention of children) close 10pm

*8 people from 4 households can socialise in homes (under 12’s do not count towards these numbers but count towards the number of households)

*15 people from 15 households outdoors (under 12’s do not count towards these numbers but count towards the number of households)

*200 guests

*Indoor 400 guests, Outdoor seated, 2000 Outdoor, free standing 1000

*Work from home remains the default but phased return to offices to begin

Is your head hurting too? I appreciate a phased approach to reopening our communities is essential. Hairdressers reopened on 5th April. Shops and Visitor Attractions will reopen on 26th April. Cinemas will reopen on 17 May. Simple, clear messaging.

Oh my goodness, the level of difference around who, where and when we are permitted to socialise is bonkers. The variations require a photographic memory to be able to meet up for your book club coffee morning or answer the telephone to be able to take your birthday dinner booking. The differences between what we can do as households and as hospitality businesses is only adding to the confusion. The only positive I can see is there is an acknowledgement that hospitality is safer than being in homes, but why does this not follow through around having a glass of wine in a restaurant from 26th April?

A lovely customer Jim, (I know you’re all lovely customers!) said to me last Saturday when he was collecting his Contini at Home, “The people making up these rules think they are doing a great job!”

Having been front line, open to the public’s opinions for decades; your coffee isn’t hot enough, your scones don’t have enough raisins (we use sultanas), there is no cream in my Carbonara, I do appreciate completely what it’s like to have a range of opinions and I do acknowledge everyone’s right to agree, disagree and complain. I won’t bore you with the correct temperature of heating milk so it doesn’t burn and the micro foam is smooth and silky or the origins of the Neapolitan Carbone; the charcoal burners, who would make their supper on the streets of Milan (and they didn’t keep cream in their saddlebags), but surely if we are working to data not dates there is logic lacking in this approach? We never claim to get it right all the time. Our mistakes, if made consistently, would be livelihood dependent but only our own. These rules are affecting a sector that was worth over £11 billion to Scotland in 2019.

“Your country needs you”. That was a simple, effective message. “Come and Dine”, that’s a simple message too. We’ll figure out what you’re allowed to do, it just might take us several minutes to complete the algorithm, as our heads have been a little sore of late.

By 17 May we’re back to where we were last September (with masks and vaccines) more or less and we can work around this. Level 0 is however not normal, which is what it was always branded to be. It is a headache we can cope with.

BUT, and this is the REALLY BIG BUT. This planned level of opening up is far faster than any of us had anticipated. We never anticipated tables of 10 from 4 households in late June. If this is a reflection of the data and our future is looking positive and the new normal is closer to the old normal, brilliant, but if this facilitates further winter lockdowns there will be no aspirin available to fix that ailment. Given the punitive measures we have had to live with for over a year I am struggling to see this route. Maybe the vaccine is better than any aspirin.

For now, pulling all of this together and converting your enquiries to bookings means the work can start (I’m sure like many others in our industry, if we’d been able to digest this earlier we would have made very different choices!).

At 6pm on Friday further guidelines and a DRAFT document was released. The catch! It’s a brutal back door catch. What is now expected, for both indoor and outdoor dining, for non family members, 1m social distancing at each table. So instead of 1m between bookings (tables) we need to provide 1m between guests. The impact on capacity will be significant and many venues will be too small to be able to open. To throw this at us, at such short notice, makes all the work we’ve done redundant and we’ll have to start all over again. Customers will need to be called to cancel tables, orders will need to be scaled back, budgets ripped up again and most sadly the team will have to be told they don’t have jobs. I’ve tried to stay calm but I’m angry. The DRAFT clearly says, if businesses can’t comply they mustn’t open! How long can venues stay closed? What’s changed from last December to April? Nothing other than a 4 month lockdown and millions of vaccinations! The sector is lobbying to have this removed. If it stays, many businesses will have more pain than any headache.

Thank you, our hearts hurt, in a good way, because we so very much appreciate all your support.

Carina and Victor

PS I’ve had my vaccine. No side effects at all, not even a headache.


LAST CHANCE FOR APRIL MENUS AT CONTINI AT HOME

We can’t quite believe it but it’s our final week of these menus at Contini at Home so place your orders today ensure you don’t miss out on your favourites. Our new at Home menus will be released when we reopen as we will continue this service as long as you keep ordering!

As a special treat this week we are delighted to include a complimentary Victor’s Vinobottle of wine to the value of £22with all orders over £100. Please quoteVICTOR’S VINO COMPLIMENTARY BOTTLE OF WINE in the comments section at checkout to receive your complimentary bottle.

Don’t forget to add your favourite cocktails or bottle of wine to your order before checkout.Take a look here

ORDER CONTINI AT HOME EDINBURGH

ORDER CONTINI AT HOME SCOTLAND & UK


BOOK YOUR TABLE AT CONTINI GEORGE STREET & THE SCOTTISH CAFE & RESTAURANT

Our a la carte menu at Contini George Street is now LIVE. Yay.Take a look here. Thank you so much to all of you who have pre booked your tables for our opening week. We cannot WAIT to look after you.

BOOK CONTINI GEORGE STREET

The Scottish Cafe & Restaurant will open on 6th May and menus will be live next week.Our terrace will be the perfect spot for catching up with friends in the sunshine. (note that outside tables are not bookable and will be allocated on a first come first served basis)

BOOK THE SCOTTISH CAFE & RESTAURANT

FOR CANNONBALL BOOKINGS & EVENTS PLEASE EMAILEVENTS@CONTINI.COM

 

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