Following complaints about licensed premises in the Stornoway town area in recent days, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has made clear the need to maintain strict discipline in restaurants and pubs under Coronavirus regulations. 

This morning, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar has criticised the headline on this article, saying it "is a bit misleading. The Comhairle is reminding licensed premises of the existing SG regulations, not tightening up."

Establishments have been told:

  • Only one household is allowed to sit together.
  • Each different household must be socially distanced at either 2m or 1m apart, depending on the permissions granted for each premises .
  • Some premises are advertising that groups of up to eight are allowed at one table – but CnES say this is not allowed unless they all live under the same roof and are part of the same household or extended household.

CnES warns that if a group of people coming into restaurants and pubs and are all around the same age, it is highly unlikely that they will all be from the same household unless they are tourists up on holiday and living in the same self-catering accommodation or workers on a construction site who are also living in the same accommodation. Licence holders have a duty to ask them if they are, in fact, part of the same household.  

And CnES warns: "The recent spikes of coronavirus cases seen on the mainland have been linked back to licensed premises and people not socially distancing and resulted in a localised lockdown in Aberdeen – we do not want to see the same happening in our islands."

And the Council tells restaurants and pubs: "We all need to play our part in trying to minimise the risk to people.  If customers are not obeying the premises rules, you are entitled to ask them to leave or refuse them entry.  Customers want to go somewhere that they feel safe.  If customers do not feel safe at your premises, they will think twice about going back."

[This article has been updated with a comment from CnES this morning (Friday)]