New measures have been brought in by pubs and restaurants in Aberdeenshire to stop residents visiting from the city.
The hospitality industry was ordered to temporarily close again in Aberdeen when First Minister Nicola Sturgeon imposed a local lockdown on Wednesday.
A five-mile travel limit was also reintroduced for people living in the city – but a number of venues outwith the boundary have now taken action amid concerns some residents will flout the rule.
Bars and eateries from across the north-east have now urged people from Aberdeen not to travel to venues in Aberdeenshire while the lockdown is in place.
John Burgess, from the Paddock Bar in Portlethen, said customer bookings are checked before they are confirmed.
He said: “For every booking we get we’re asking for their name, address and phone number before we take them on, to make sure they’re from Aberdeenshire and for Test and Trace purposes.
“We are waiting to see what happens at the weekend. If there are crowds of people we will just turn them away, even if they are local.”
The Leathan, also in Portlethen, announced on social media that they would not be allowing customers with an Aberdeen city address entry to the bar, and would require them to confirm those details to staff.
The pub will also refuse entry to anyone who has already been to a different bar on the same day.
And William Gordon, who manages the Burnett Arms Hotel in Kemnay, said he had to ask two people to leave the premises.
He said: “I had to put out two people from Aberdeen yesterday (Wednesday).
“I recognised one of them and I told them I couldn’t serve them.
“I’ve told my staff if they don’t recognise them, then don’t let them in. It’s for the safety of our regular customers and staff.
“We know all our locals here, and it concerns us that people are coming out from the city.”
Chris Hodgens, general manager at Ardoe House Hotel in Blairs, said a lot of people had cancelled bookings over fears about coming to the area, and that they were not accepting bookings from anyone with an Aberdeen address.
He said: “We’ve had a few people phone and cancel because they didn’t want to travel to the area.
“We’ve had tour operators phone trying to postpone.
“For everyone that books we take a name, number and address. Anyone with a city address we advise them they can’t have a booking with us unfortunately.
“A lot argue the case that it’s less than five miles. It’s an awkward position we’re in.
“We’d rather err on the side of caution and just say no to the people.
“A lot of people were straight on the phone to cancel thinking we were part of Aberdeen city.
“I managed to convince some of them, but quite a lot of them have cancelled just because they don’t feel safe coming to the area even though we’re outwith the city.
“I reckon we’ve lost a fair amount of bookings.”
But Chris was keen to reassure people about the extensive cleaning and hygiene measures in place to ensure it is safe.
He said: “We’re very confident with the procedures we’ve got in place.”
Scott Hutcheon, a director at Douglas Arms Hotel in Banchory, was considering bringing in measures, but said: ”People deciding to ignore guidance is always a possibility, but we are a very local establishment in that it’s generally just locals that do use us.
“There is a contemplation about asking for proof of address, but I’m undecided at the moment.
“On a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, if the weather is good, we probably will start taking measures just to make sure people deciding to take day trips are discouraged from coming into the premises.
“It would just be a form of ID, such as a driving licence. We’re running track and trace anyway, like everyone else, but we might be extending that to addresses.”
Other Aberdeenshire businesses have taken more dramatic action, with The Newton Arms in Newtonhill and the Newmachar Hotel both closing their doors to all customers.
Bennachie Lodge in Kemnay confirmed it would be shutting its public bar and postponing an ‘80s Rewind’ event that was due to take place on Saturday, while keeping its beer garden, restaurant and hotel open.
Based on the developments in Aberdeen we have taken the decision to Close the Public Bar & postpone the 80s Rewind on…
Meanwhile, Nick Quinn, owner of Garlogie Inn, said he would not be asking customers for addresses, and demanding to see identification for proof would run the risk of becoming a nanny state.
He said: “From day one I have measures in place here where the customer phones and makes a reservation. We ask them their phone number and nine out of 10 times it’s a mobile number we’re given.
“When the customer comes in we ask them to sanitise, we take them to the table, we ask them if they would like us to wear a face covering.
“We then give them a track and trace card and pencil and ask them to put their name, email or mobile number on there.
“We then enter that into a log book which we keep for 21 days.
“I haven’t been told that a full address is required.
“We all feel that we are asking what is required, and until I’m told otherwise I can’t see how I can police it, by me saying to someone ‘I don’t believe you, you really live X, Y and Z’.
“I can’t go asking to see driving licences, as far as I know that’s almost becoming a nanny state.
“Until I’m told to take someone’s address, I think there’s little I can do.
“I ain’t going to be standing at the door asking people’s addresses. When I’m told to, that would change. But just now, what I’m doing I believe I’m doing correctly.”
Simon Cruickshank, owner of the Ship Inn and Trouper Bar in Stonehaven, appealed for Aberdonians to stay at home despite the warm weather forecast for this weekend.
He said: “Stonehaven has always been a day trip destination of choice for those in Aberdeen on a sunny summer day and we usually welcome these visitors with open arms.
“However, we’re appealing to anyone considering breaking the local lockdown in Aberdeen not to come to Stonehaven.
“It’s important for everyone to abide by the guidelines so that there is the best chance to control the virus. Everyone has to play their part in this.”