South Scotland

'Think carefully' before visiting English pubs, Scots warned

Members of staff wearing PPE at The Victoria in Whitley Bay, as pubs and bars have reopened following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions across England. Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Pubs in England reopened on Saturday - with precautions - as lockdown restrictions are eased

Scots should "think carefully" before crossing the border to visit newly-reopened pubs, according to Scotland's national clinical director.

Prof Jason Leitch said there was no law against it but "that seems to me like maybe not the right thing to do".

As English pubs opened for the first time since March, he urged Scots to wait until beer gardens opened in Scotland on Monday.

One pub in Berwick-upon-Tweed claimed 70% of its bookings were from Scotland.

Publican Marc McDonald told BBC Scotland people had travelled from as far afield as Glasgow and Edinburgh to drink at The Meadow House.

Indoor areas in Scotland are expected to be allowed to open from 15 July.

'Be thoughtful'

Prof Leitch said: "We have chosen to take our time in stepping out of lockdown for good reason.

"We have very good numbers just now but it wouldn't take much... to quickly get back and the curve would go up.

"I can't stop people and I don't want to be the killjoy that stops everything but I'd ask people to be very thoughtful if they're going to another country if the rules are different there.

"There's no law but I would ask people to be slightly thoughtful.

"If they held off, maybe they could support some Scottish businesses this week coming", he added.

Image caption About 70% if bookings taken at The Meadow House were parties from Scotland

Across the border

The Meadow House is just one mile away from the Scotland-England border and it has opened its doors for the first time since the UK went into lockdown three months ago.

Publican Marc McDonald said: "We've had quite a few from over the border. About 70% came from Scotland.

"There's a table in from Glasgow, one from Edinburgh, as well as throughout the borders. We've got a table from Kelso coming in, and from Galashiels", he added.

A member of the group from Kelso said they travelled to Berwick because they "just want a drink", and to support the pub's owners - who they know.

A couple from Strathven were in Duns for the weekend, and decided that they would cross over to England for a drink.

"We were in St Abbs walking and my husband decided we should cross the border and get a pint cos he can't wait til Monday so that's while we're here."

Police Scotland said officers would not be stopping cars or making any changes to policing in the border area, although the force urged people to follow the coronavirus rules.

Assistant chief constable Gary Ritchie said: "The chief constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.

"We recognise that people have made significant sacrifices but we would ask them to continue to comply with the regulations and the Scottish government's guidance.

"Our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance. We will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation."

He continued: "Police Scotland is currently carrying out its summer drink and drug drive campaign, and we have officers out on proactive patrols on a daily basis to deter and detect drink or drug driving.

"Drivers visiting Scotland should also remember that the drink drive limit here is lower."

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