By Ian McConnell

THE owner of a landmark Glasgow restaurant has expressed his happiness he has managed to retain all of his staff, and declared it “feels like waking up from a bad dream”, as he prepares to reopen.

Marco Giannasi, who owns and runs the Battlefield Rest on the south side of Glasgow with wife Yellena, described as “fantastic news” the bistro’s plans to reopen on April 26. He noted it would have an outdoor licence for alcoholic drinks from 11am to 10pm. It would, he added, be open from 11am until 8pm for indoor seating, with no licence in line with Scottish Government coronavirus restrictions.

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Asked about the importance to him of retaining all staff amid the Covid-19 crisis, Mr Giannasi told The Herald: “Obviously the responsibility – you can feel the responsibility, for all those people working. Everyone was depending on what our decision was. I have managed over a year so another month or two is nearly there.”

Flagging reserves built up before the pandemic, while noting the costs of paying national insurance and pension contributions for furloughed workers, he added: “The business has been supported over the full year from what we have done in the past.”

He tweeted: “It feels like waking up from a bad dream, the good news is that we managed to maintain all our staff and we are reopening on the 26th of April!”

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The Battlefield Rest, which employs 16 people in addition to Marco and Yellena Giannasi and has used the coronavirus job retention scheme to retain staff, has been offering takeaway at weekends amid the latest lockdown.

Mr Giannasi said of staff: “They have been loyal and they deserve to stay because we need them again when we are going to reactivate the business. It is going to be a long process to recuperate as well.”

He noted more than half of the staff had worked at the restaurant in excess of a decade. He last month expressed relief he had, amid the latest lockdown, become eligible for a one-off Scottish Government grant of £25,000.