HAPPY Monday? Magic Monday? Well, it certainly will be for the vast majority of Scots, who from this Monday will be “allowed” to hug and embrace their loved ones, family and friends, after our First Minister Nicola Sturgeon decided to lift some of the more onerous shackles of lockdown by scrapping physical distancing and mask wearing in family homes and gardens.

For many businesses, though, it will be a Manic Monday as they scrabble around, struggling to understand the confusing and burdensome layers of statutory Covid guidance, baffling rules and safety procedures that must adhered to before they can open.

As for the night-time industries, it will be yet another Blue Monday, a Groundhog Day of disappointment, disillusionment and despair. Stuck as they are in perpetual limbo by a government which still refuses to acknowledge their cultural, creative and societal value and status, and which wrongly judges them to be modern-day plague carriers of their age.

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Restaurants, pubs, bars and cafes may have been given the green light to open and sell alcohol indoors until the contentious closing time of 10.30pm. But strict physical distancing measures of one metre will apply which, along with other robust restrictions like the rule of no more than six from three households, no standing at the bar, table service, and mask wearing when queuing will undoubtedly restrict sales. It will also mean that for many operators, especially those with no outdoor areas to take up the slack, there’s no point in opening as they won’t be viable.

It's a ludicrous situation made all the more preposterous when you think that the same number of people from the same number of households can meet at a pal’s house for a proper sesh, a house party if you like, before going out, and after bells, without having to mask up, sanitise and physically distance.

Then there is the strict 10.30pm curfew which, along with the two-hour booking window, has enraged operators. Michelin-starred chef Tom Kitchin says herding people out the door at exactly 10.30pm on the dot, when they would normally still be eating, is yet another blow to the struggling restaurant trade.

In support of Kitchin, Dean of Faculty of Advocates Roddy Dunlop QC tweeted: “What is the basis for saying the same people can’t be with you in a hospitality venue with table service at 11pm?"

HeraldScotland:

As for the two-hour booking slots, many in the trade also believe that this will only encourage binge drinking and pub crawls, so not exactly a positive government measure when it comes to reducing the harm associated with alcohol.

If you think all of that is crackers, then pour yourself a large one, because the tourism and hospitality guidance surrounding weddings and funerals defies all known logic and reason.

For a family wedding, you can leave the house and arrive at the ceremony together but once inside physical distancing rules apply so in effect you cannot walk your daughter down the aisle. You can celebrate, hug, kiss, sing, dance and be merry in your house but not with your 50 guests at the actual reception, that is taboo and strict physical distancing rules apply. Same with funerals and wakes, you may be together in the cortege, but at the service you must stand apart and again no hugging or cuddling here or at the wake. I wonder if bawling your eyes out is also a criminal offence?

Finally, unlike England, there is still as yet no lifting of the two-metre physical distancing rule for theatres, concert halls, comedy and live music venues. A brutal business crippling restriction which seriously threatens the viability of Scotland’s cultural and creative institutions and the livelihoods of tens of thousands of artists, technicians and industry freelancers.

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Instead of consistency and clarity, we have caution and confusion. There’s still a glaring lack of parity with England’s roadmap, which creative industries like live music, theatre and the arts need if they are to save jobs, plan for the future and stop Scotland from becoming a cultural wasteland. 

As for Mondays, well I’m with the Bob Geldof and the Boomtown Rats: I don’t like them!

Our columns are a platform for writers to express their opinions. They do not necessarily represent the views of The Herald.