Covid Scotland: Midlothian business owner with £200,000 debt plans to reopen before 'moronic' Covid-19 restrictions are lifted

Owner of Saltire soft play and football centre in Dalkeith has called the Sottish Government’s decision to keep Midlothian in Level Two restrictions ‘insane’.

Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd June 2021, 3:47 pm

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Craig Meikle’s soft play centre has been closed for the last 15-months and has accrued more than £200,000 of debt since March 2020.

Mr Meikle said his business has been unfairly disadvantaged by the restrictions as his nearest competitor, located six miles away, can reopen.

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Craig Meikle

Infuriated by what he claims is a “moronic” decision Mr Meikle is considering going against the government and reopening his business before July 1.

He said: “My customers can literally drive past my front door to my competitors and take their kids to softplay.”

Mr Meikle went on to voice rage at the lack of financial help from the UK and Scottish governments.

He said: “We have had the hospitality and retail grant but the levels of grant money we get, £2000 a month, barely covers our insurance.

Owner of Saltire soft play and football centre in Dalkeith Craig Meikle.

“We’ve gone from a business that has no debt last March to a business that has over £200,000 worth of debt. And with every passing week that increased another thousand pounds.”

The business owner said he may reopen before restrictions are lifted and is prepared to face a penalty for this action.

He said: “I might not even wait as long as July because these rules are just so moronic and the vast majority of our customers are saying: ‘just open’.”

Midlothian has one of the highest levels of cases in the country with 90 positive cases for every 100,000 people.

But Mr Meikle said he does not understand the Scottish Government’s obsession with cases.

He added: “I don’t understand this obsession with cases, I understood it before when cases led to hospitalisations but that link has clearly been broken.

“There is hardly anyone in hospital and there has not been a death in Midlothian for over two months.”

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