THE owner of a family of bar restaurants in Glasgow and Edinburgh says a decision to keep his businesses shut while the majority re-opened was motivated by his morals.

Craig Tannock, who owns Mono, Stereo, the 78 and the Flying Duck, said the health and safety of staff and customers had been his chief consideration, but added that he would not criticise anyone else for re-opening while the virus threat continues to loom large.

In an unusual move, the business shared a post online advising customers that Mono, a vegan restaurant, bar and live music venue in Glasgow, would remain closed through November, independent of what happens with the tier system, because, “We do not think it is appropriate for us to open in a moral or a business sense due to the current restrictions.”

Mr Tannoch, who employs around 180 staff, said he had re-opened two of his other venues for a time but they were all currently closed. Despite remaining shut for the majority of the pandemic he says he has not made any of his staff redundant.

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However, he acknowledged that this had been achievable because he was “fortunate” in his financial relationships, while accessing all the Government support schemes that were available to him.

“We are uncomfortable opening up while this virus is about, full stop,” said Mr Tannock.

“Right from the beginning, I failed to understand this rush to re-open. From day one we have been reluctant to re-open. Number one is health and safety for staff and customers but there are lots of other considerations as well.

“Everybody wants to survive all of this, physically of course but also in a business sense.

“When you apply that sort of thinking, health and safety comes first and secondly you want to maintain the jobs of all your staff and when you have so much uncertainty about trading, you want to keep your finances in as safe as condition as you possibly can.

!You want to maintain as much reserve as you possibly can. “We have always felt that we don’t want to just open up to lose more money than you would by staying closed.

“There will be some hospitality businesses because of the nature of what they offer, where they are geographically – whether it’s urban or rural and also the actual space of the premises – all these things factor in.

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“There are some businesses who will be able to trade with social distancing and break even but there are a lot that can’t. It can come down to the shape of your premises.

“But I can only speak for us. Right in the beginning we didn’t just say, right we aren’t going to re-open. We have been constantly trying to get to the position where we could re-open, business planning depending on the situation.”

HeraldScotland:

Mr Tannoch said he was able to open The 78 in the West End of Glasgow and city centre venue Stereo for a short period in September.

“The 78 is one of our few places which isn’t heavily reliant on live music.” he explained. “If a large part of your trade is generated by live music then it’s almost impossible to re-open in a way that is going to break even with social distancing.

“We have not had to make anyone redundant and that’s not because before lockdown happened we had lots of resources. We really didn’t. It’s just that we have tried to be really careful with what we had and accessed whatever support we can.

“We’ve also been very fortunate in our business relationships.

!Our main lender is one of the major breweries and they have been very accommodating so that’s been a help. And also our landlords in general they have been helpful so that’s given us the space to make the decisions that we have made.

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“That’s why I can’t make a call on anyone else’s decision because you don’t know what pressures they are under.”

The businessman, who lives in Glasgow’s south side, said he would have welcomed a more sustained initial national lockdown with more support for businesses from the outset.

He said: “It’s a really difficult situation for the governments to manage. There is no doubt that the Scottish Government has handled this better.

!“We felt as if the Government should have just bitten the bullet, which it did initially with the full lockdown, fully support businesses and eradicate the virus.

“Of course we want to be open but not in any way where we feel uncomfortable for staff.

!But that’s not to say we aren’t trying to re-open. We are just going to be very responsive to the changing situation.”