North-east pubs linked to the city’s coronavirus outbreak have hit out at health bosses claiming they had ‘absolutely no contact’ from the NHS despite being named on a covid list.
NHS Grampian released a list of 28 north-east boozers which people with covid-19 are believed to have visited.
But the owners of McNasty’s and Stonehaven’s Marine Hotel have said health chiefs never told them through the trace and protect system.
McNasty’s said they had closed voluntarily after being contacted by a customer who had tested positive for the virus.
A statement released by McNasty’s yesterday reads: “Following our statement and actions yesterday and in direct response to the announcement of further lockdown measures by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon earlier today, we can confirm at this point after more than 24 hours since closing our doors voluntarily, we STILL have had no contact from NHS Grampian or NHS test and protect.
“Additionally, later this afternoon NHS Grampian published a comprehensive list of 28 licensed premises and four sporting venues, stating that each were connected to known and detected cases linked to the cluster.
“As responsible owners and licence holders, we have put every possible measure in place to protect our staff and customers accordingly. Therefore, we are most concerned at this stage that there has been absolutely no contact from any of the bodies responsible for tracing and notifying the general public of potential close contact instances.
“Whilst we hear ‘track and trace’ procedures are robust and are working, we along with many other venues listed today have not seen this occur inn reality.”
The Granite City was the first area in Scotland to be put back into lockdown following a major outbreak of Covid-19.
A cluster of 79 cases has been connected to the outbreak which emerged when a group visited the city’s Hawthorn bar on July 26.
All bars, cafes and restaurants were ordered to shut their doors at 5pm last night and restrictions have been placed on travel and visitors.
Extra police have been put on Aberdeen’s streets to enforce the rules.
Robert Lindsay, owner of the Marine Hotel in Stonehaven, also said he had not been contacted.
A statement released on social media read: “Well, I don’t know where to begin…I’m still no clearer than anyone else (customers, staff, family or friends) as to the Marine Hotel in Stonehaven’s position as a result of the official response to the Covid-19 outbreak that affected Aberdeen.
“We were not informed that the Marine, obviously outwith the Aberdeen lockdown area, would be on the NHS Grampian list of premises which had Covid-19 contacts, published yesterday afternoon. We had not been informed there had been such a contact, full stop.
“We have not been advised as to what we should do now. No official has said whether we have done enough to mitigate any potential contact. No one has said if we should stay open or close. That is a ridiculous and worrying situation to be in.
“With this lack of clarity and communication from health and council officials, I feel the only responsible thing for me to do is close the hotel, despite being outside the Scottish Government imposed lockdown zone, until I am given categorical assurances we can open safely for business as normal.
“I do this with a heavy heart, but my first duty must be the safety of my staff, customers and the public.
“I believe the Scottish Government has continued to manage the pandemic extremely well. I also realise every new situation, such as the events of yesterday in Aberdeen, is extremely difficult to manage, especially when things are moving so fast.
“However, you would have thought, knowing that such situations were highly likely to occur, suitable protocols would be in place for a co-ordinated response and clear communication for all parts of our community, including businesses. That did not happen yesterday.
“After reading the list and attempting to clarify the situation directly with NHS Grampian, I was contacted by Aberdeenshire Council to ask if I knew we were on the list and had anyone been in contact. Yes, I had read that, but NO I had not been contacted. I asked for clarification.
“I was told the Marine was on that list in error. We even contacted track and trace officials ourselves to corroborate this; they said “we have no records of any contacts at The Marine Hotel”.
“I then obviously needed to post on social media to that effect to inform my customers, staff and other businesses who have shown us huge support during the past three weeks. That support continued yesterday and my staff and I thank everyone so much for this!
“However, we have subsequently been contacted and advised there might have been a contact at the Marine and that track and trace would be in touch to advise us what further action, if any, we should take.
“I reiterate we have not been contacted by track and trace to trace any contacts in The Marine or advised we should take any additional measures.
“We have been asked by Aberdeenshire Council to provide copies of our risk assessment and measures we have in place to protect customers and staff.
“I can only assume this is to assess whether the measures we have in place are adequate to mitigate any potential risk or need to trace any further contacts.
“As lockdown was eased we put in place a rigorous schedule of cleaning, maintenance, risk assessment, staff training, physical distancing measures, additional cleaning and personal sanitisation measures.
“Those of you who have entered our premises will have witnessed the many measures we have in place. There is endless signage guiding customers in the “do’s and dont’s”, one way systems, spaced out tables, restricted numbers, hand sanitiser, hourly cleaning of all touch points, doors, tills, toilet handles to beer taps, staff wearing masks, one-use menus, plastic glasses, bookings system, no standing in the bar and much much more.
“We sanitise every table and chair when a customer leaves. Our booking system ensures plenty of time between customers to achieve this and to collect details to assist track and trace.
“It is ludicrous that after appearing on the list of affected premises, no official word has been given as to when the contact was, how we can help in the tracing effort and what we should do as a business and as individuals. Let’s face it, this is what all the guidelines for businesses, households and individuals are in place for.
“It IS anticipated the virus is all around us and the measures we put in place are to stop the spread. If there was no virus there would be no measures.
“I know Grampian NHS published what they were given in terms of possible contacts and premises. But for them to be tweeting and messaging on social media requests when we have not even been contacted, puts us in a terrible situation.
“I sympathise with the government, local authorities and those tasked with delivering the track and trace service and I’m sure there has to be priorities.
“But the confusion and lack of communication we saw yesterday does not help our customers, staff, the general public or business.”
NHS Grampian has been contacted for comment.