Saltire Soft-Play: Soft-play centre in Midlothian to reopen despite being in level 2 Covid restrictions
The owner of Saltire Soccer Centre and Soft-play in Midlothian has announced that the business will reopen next week despite still being under Level 2 coronavirus restrictions.
Under the current guidelines, soft-play centres – along with nightclubs and adult entertainment venues – are not allowed to reopen in Level 2.
Yet the owner of Saltire Soft-play in Mayfield, Craig Meikle, said he “can’t understand the logic behind forcing his business to remain closed" and therefore has plans to reopen on Monday, June 21, with bookings reopening on Thursday this week.
He told Edinburgh Evening News: "The rules have basically now reached such a level of ludicrousy I can’t even look myself in the mirror if I continue to abide by them, they are just so wrong and contradictory and just insane.
“These rules haven’t stopped anybody in Midlothian from visiting a soft-play, they just stop them from visiting our soft-play, because anybody in Midlothian now can just jump in the car or use public transport to get to a Level 1 area, like the Borders or East Lothian, and they can visit a soft-play there.
"So essentially the government has said it is safe for kids to go to soft-plays but it’s just not safe for them to come to our soft-play because of perceived inconsistencies, what does that even mean?”
The decision to reopen was based on a Facebook poll organised by Mr Meikle on the Saltire Soft-play's page, asking people if they thought the industry should be allowed to reopen in Level 2.
The poll received over 17,600 votes and results showed that 94 per cent believed they should reopen, compared to just six per cent who thought they shouldn't.
Mr Meikle continued: "The soft-play industry serves the public, and if they want us open, and they feel we’re safe to open then I'm not going to argue with them.
"As far as I'm concerned, it’s not a decision I'm taking personally, it’s a decision the general public in Midlothian have taken.”
He said that he has had very little communication from MSP's he has contacted, but that he has been told that the government is following “clinical advice”.
He has requested a copy of that advice but claims he is yet to receive it, or an acknowledgement of his request.
The soft-play owner added that he has been told by “an elected official” that the government will come down on him "like a ton of bricks" if he does reopen, "just to make an example” of him, but that he is going to open anyway.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “We do not underestimate the significant impact this pandemic has had on soft play centres across Scotland. Regulations in place prevent soft play businesses from opening in level 2 areas.
“Enforcement is a matter for individual local authorities.
“It is our judgement that with case numbers as high as they are in Midlothian - and with a substantial proportion of adults not yet double dosed - it is safer, and more likely to protect our progress overall, if we hold such areas in Level 2 for a further period.
“Taking a cautious approach now - while more people get fully vaccinated – does give us the best chance of staying on the right track overall.”