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Coronavirus / Busta House to experiment with outside dining as restrictions ease

Staff at Busta House have been busy preparing the hotel's garden for the outdoor dining experience.

SHETLAND is usually not associated with an outside dining culture but all that could change this coming week as lockdown restrictions ease with beer gardens and outside eating areas allowed to be open to the public.

While a number of cafés have been serving food on a takeaway basis for some time, Monday will see the outdoor areas of at least three cafés in Lerwick open: the Peerie Shop Café, Coffee Culture as well French-themed café C’est La Vie.

Meanwhile further north, the Mid Brae Inn is hoping for some good trade as all is set for the pub’s own beer garden to open on Monday. A beer garden at the Balta Light, in Unst, will also open on Monday at 6pm.

The Cornerstone in Scalloway also now has a licence to serve alcohol outdoors but questions remain over future of the business.

Busta House Hotel however is taking it one step further. Having been forced to close at the end of March like all other restaurants and accommodation providers, the Brae-based country house hotel is taking advantage of its large walled garden.

Social distancing and hand sanitising will have to be adhered to.

As of Monday lunchtime, diners can enjoy a meal outside on the Busta lawn, socially distanced and protected by a marquee to keep some of the current summer freshness at bay.

Hotel manager Grant O’Neil said a strict hygiene regime with hand sanitisers and a one-way system will have to be in place which hopefully will not discourage people from going out for a meal for the first time in almost four months.

“We are very much looking forwarding to seeing some well known faces return as well as some new faces,” he said.

“We would ask that if you are joining us, that you please adhere to our guidance as well as social distancing measures to ensure the safety of our customers and our staff.”

Bookings for Monday through to next Sunday, except Thursday, are now open, preferably by telephone on 01806 522506.

The Scottish Government has said as of later in the week businesses could apply to operate at less than two metre social distancing if a number of mitigation measures are agreed and put in place.

All of this comes ahead the expected opening of tourism and hospitality from 15 July.

A number of cafes are also set to open on Monday.