An Aberdeen mum fears her son is “totally locked in” the house – with hopes that news a week on Monday could be what’s needed to lift his spirits.
The city council has so far resisted pressure to reopen some of its tight-for-space attractions over fears visitors cannot safely physically distance.
Those include the maritime museum and the David Welch Winter Gardens at Duthie Park.
And for Torry man Graeme Harman, the continued closure of the latter has left him without much motivation to leave home.
The 18-year-old is on the autistic spectrum and, according to mother Nicola Craigie, has visited the gardens once or twice every month since he was young.
“He has always wanted to go, ever since he was a baby,” she said.
“We must go about 20 times in a normal year to see McPuddock – he does not leave the house much and it was a way of getting him to do so.”
McPuddock is a much-loved character within the indoor pond in the huge greenhouse, a yellow-spotted frog.
Ms Craigie has been phoning the council for weekly updates on the reopening of Scotland’s third most visited gardens – in the hope that the narrow corridors might at least allow for a one-way system around the free-to-enter hothouse.
She added: “Graeme finished school as lockdown got going and I think had planned to go to the garden more often.
“He handled not being able to do that really well, though every time there was a break in cases, and pubs and shops would open, he would be watching the news looking out for mention of Duthie Park.
“It’s hard for him to understand what is going on in the world and even just having a date for reopening would help him.”
The next possibility of review of the situation at the Winter Gardens comes a week on Monday, following the next update on the route out of lockdown.
Even then, that would be the earliest a reopening date is revealed – not the day Mr Harman could get in for a visit.
Aberdeen South MP Stephen Flynn says the youngster is not alone in his confusion over the continued closure.
“Constituents are at a loss,” he told Aberdeen Journals.
“The Winter Gardens are special to so many folk in the city and we cannot underestimate the benefits that a walk around the beautiful borders, or a visit to see the famous frog, can bring to people of all ages.
“The council really need to provide clarity as to why they haven’t opened these iconic gardens back up and look again at whether they can now do so in a way that allows people to enjoy the surroundings in a safe manner.”
A council spokeswoman highlighted the limited space on the walkways around the greenhouse, at odds with Covid safety rules.
She said Town House chiefs were “hopeful” of reopening soon – dependent on the updated government guidance on August 9.