Coronavirus restrictions: Edinburgh hospitality dump ice outside parliament in protest against measures
Edinburgh hospitality workers gathered outside the Scottish parliament to 'dump' their ice as a symbolic gesture representing all the customers they won't be serving over the next two weeks after they have been forced to close this evening.
The peaceful protest began at 6pm this evening when all venues across the central belt had to shut their doors for two weeks in a bid by the Scottish Government to control the spread of coronavirus.
Staff and owners of pubs and bars across Edinburgh headed to parliament with the remaining ice from their ice machines and took turns dumping it into a growing pile of ice that would have otherwise been served to customers.
The call for action on social media said: “It would be a legal, safely distanced statement.
“It would require a little discipline to not hang around and it to actually become a gathering, but I have been full of admiration for how the trade has managed all these restrictions and operated your venues with such professionalism (a very justified element to your frustration).”
Organisers maintained order by ensuring that only one bag of ice was dropped at a time to prevent facing criticism that they weren’t following the government social distancing guidelines.
Each dump was met with cheers from a socially distanced crowd and passing cars tooted their horns in support of the protest.
The action was organised in response to the First Minister’s announcement on Wednesday that pubs and restaurants will have to close for two weeks in Scotland’s central belt in an attempt to control the rising cases of coronavirus.
Outside the central belt, hospitality businesses may remain open, but have had their hours limited and cannot sell alcohol to anybody sitting indoors.
Grant McNeil, owner of the Auld Hoose and the Green Mantle, told the Edinburgh Evening News: “I think the reason is that it feels good to do something.
"It is also important to raise the plight of the industry. We need to shout as loud as we can.
"Lots of premises will close and thousands of jobs will be lost regardless.
"But if we can help save some jobs then it's a good thing.
"It's all about pressuring the government into giving us the support we need.”