Two hotel owners in Melrose say they have already noticed the impact of the 10pm curfew which was rolled out across the country this weekend.Hospitality venues are now required to close at 10 o clock every night to help curb the spread of coronavirus."It's been very, very quiet... it's been like a ghost town in Melrose," said Dawn Barrett, who owns the George and Abbotsford Hotel on the High Street."It was busy during the day yesterday (Saturday) with more families coming out but come night time it's dead, it's had a huge impact. "I struggle to understand why hospitality has to close at ten o clock. I don't see why it makes any difference than us staying open to 11 or 12 o clock. "We are a family sort of older group clientele which comes in here, and our guests behave really well we have no issues whatsoever. So I really don't understand the 10pm curfew at all."
Dawn says the latest she can feasibly seat diners is now 7.30pm which severely limits her ability to earn, and she doesn't feel it's right that guests who come for a weekend away, should have to return to their rooms at 10pm. She's already had a number of cancellations.A few doors down, The Kings Arms has also noticed a difference since the curfew has been in place."Friday night, the first night was fine but Saturday night was a bit quieter, we probably dropped about 15 per cent on Saturday night," explained Rob Reeley, who owns The Kings Arms.
"We have 100 or so employees across all of our venues we think that if the 10pm curfew continues there could be up to 20 jobs affected, if it lasts any length of time. "From my point a few a carpet ban across all venues is difficult if you go to a nightclub then yes after 10 o clock is relevant but if you've only got half a dozen people sitting in a country pub I don't see what benefit it gives."
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned that any premises which do not comply with the new 10pm curfew, risk heavy fines or being shut down completely. The rule part of a series of new measures introduced by both the Scottish and UK Goverments to try to bring down the rate of coronavirus transmission.
It's not yet known for how long the curfew is set to be in place.