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Business / High demand for Lerwick beer garden ahead of restrictions easing next week

‘Ventilation is pretty good in Shetland’, says Fjara owner Dennis Leask

Fjara's outdoor seating area.

PINTS will be able to be poured at some Shetland establishments next week for the first time since Christmas as restrictions on serving alcohol outdoor ease.

While alcohol still won’t be allowed indoors, from Monday hospitality venues across Scotland can serve drink outdoors.

Shetland has been under the less strict level three restrictions since Boxing Day, but alcohol in hospitality – both indoor and outdoor – has been off limits.

Lerwick cafe and bar Fjara is one of the few venues in Shetland which can offer outdoor hospitality.

It is set reopen its beer garden for drinkers from next Tuesday (27 April), and it has prepared for the occasion by installing an outdoor bar.

Owner Dennis Leask said this should reduce the risk of interaction among people in the venue.

Bookings have already been taken for the 40-seat beer garden and interest has been strong. “There’s certainly a demand,” Leask said.

Outdoor hospitality in Shetland is obviously weather dependent – with the cafe hoping for a “sunny summer”.

Leask quipped, however, that Shetland’s outdoors is well placed when it comes to fresh air preventing the spread of coronavirus.

“It’s all about keeping good ventilation,” he said. “Ventilation is pretty good in Shetland.”

Rules on the number of people who can gather outside – up to six people from a maximum of six households – will apply for outdoor hospitality.

Opening hours for outdoor hospitality will be determined by local licensing laws, with Fjara for example due to open its beer garden until 9pm through the week and 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Indoor hospitality for food and soft drinks, meanwhile, will also enjoy slightly extended opening hours from next week.

At the moment all venues must be closed by 6pm, but from Monday this will move to 8pm.

From 17 May Scotland is expected to move into level two, which should allow alcohol to be served inside hospitality venues in two-hour slots up to 10.30pm.