A GLASGOW restaurateur has flagged his belief the sector is being “brushed aside” amid the coronavirus pandemic, expressing astonishment businesses such as his can only trade until 6pm in the crucial festive period, while “mega stores” are open.
Marco Giannasi, who founded the landmark Battlefield Rest on Glasgow’s south side in 1994, told The Herald yesterday that restaurateurs do not understand why they are facing such tough restrictions. And he said that being allowed to stay open until 8pm, even with a ban on serving alcohol, would have been a “lifeline”.
Mr Giannasi, who declared he did not know whether or not the situation might be reviewed next Tuesday, emphasised his view that an extension of opening hours until 8pm would make sense. He said: “It is not a big deal – still people don’t drink…It gives a little bit more space to the kitchen and time for the customers.”
He expects turnover in the next two weeks to be down about 60% on the same period of last year. He described this loss of turnover as “extraordinary”.
Commenting on the latest restrictions announced by the Scottish Government this week, he said: “Common sense doesn’t work. There is not anyone who really seems to listen to what the trade is saying. We are completely brushed aside. I can’t absorb how this is happening.”
Mr Giannasi emphasised he was speaking out “for the overall, for the restaurants”.
He added: “The restaurants are a very controlled environment. They keep asking, ‘Why us. What are we doing wrong?’.”
Underlining support from customers, he added: “The customers are saying the same thing. I get really wound up and angry about it.”
Mr Giannasi noted the Scottish Government had announced further support for the hospitality sector but highlighted the challenge presented by not knowing when this…