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Scottish hotels, restaurants and bars press ahead with Hogmanay celebrations

Hotels, restaurants and pubs across Scotland are gearing up to host new year celebrations despite official advice to “stay at home” over Hogmanay.

Published: December 31, 2021

Businesses around the country are staying open to cater for locals and visitors after the Scottish Government decided to allow them to stay open while urging people to cut back on socialising.

However many operators have been forced to pull the plug on plans to open over the bells due to the number of staff self-isolating.

Instead, hospitality businesses have been told to ensure that there is at least one metre each group of customers.

Although live music is allowed, seated indoor events are being capped at just 200, while dancing is banned completely under the current guidelines.

Among those hosting official Hogmanay parties are Oran Mor in Glasgow, The George Hotel in Inveraray, The Ship Inn in Elie, The Bridge Inn in Ratho, the Banff Springs Hotel in Aberdeenshire and the Taigh Ailean Hotel on the Isle of Skye.

Graham Bucknall, owner of The Ship Inn and The Bridge Inn, said: “Demand was really poor in the run up to Christmas but the last 48 hours have shown us that people are keen to come out, so we are keen to look after them.

"There won’t be anywhere near the numbers of previous years, and it is going to feel very odd at the bells with people sitting at tables in a bar that is normally totally rammed.

"But we will have folk inside and outside at the bells, we will have live music, and we will work hard to make sure our customers, and our staff, have a safe and a happy Hogmanay.”

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Katie Heron, who runs the Skye hotel, said: “Only 30 people can come rather than the usual joyous squish.

"We will have a small band playing box, piano accordion and drums. It will be a very sedate Hogmanay for us but full of great people, craic and hope for the future.”

Although the country’s biggest planned Hogmanay party was called off by the Scottish Government last week, many businesses are staying open for the bells, including Ghillie Dhu, CC Blooms, The Piper’s Rest and Cannonball House in the city centre.

Carina Contini runs the Cannonball House bar and restaurant, on the Royal Mile, as well as the Contini restaurant on George Street, said: “Our 9pm Hogmanay packages have been sold out since the beginning of December.

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"We've had guests cancelling due to travel restrictions from abroad or caution around Covid but there is still demand.

"The week leading up to Christmas was one of the hardest we’ve had as a business. We've had several team that hav had to isolate and we were very worried that we may need to close or cancel Hogmanay entirely.

“The constant threat of potential lockdowns and more of the team having to isolate is very draining.

"But there's an appetite for dining out and we are so thankful to the customers who continue to support hospitality and believe it's a considered choice to spend time with friends and family.”

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