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Scottish Govt bans university students from pubs

Historic Aberdeen pub warns ban on students could be “end of the road”

By: Anttoni Numminen

Photograph: Courtesy of St Machar

The Scottish Government has issued a ban on students attending pubs, parties or restaurants in a bid to stem a spate of coronavirus outbreaks at Scottish universities.

This week Wavell House in Hillhead was locked down because of a number of Covid-19 infections.

University students will also not be allowed to socialise with anyone outside of their accommodation and they have been warned that any breaches of the new rules "will not be tolerated".

Universities Scotland said the new guidance that had been agreed with the Scottish government was a "necessary step at this crucial moment of managing the virus in the student population, to protect students and the wider community".

"This could be the end of the road for us" - St Machar Pub

However, for some, students and pubs alike, this couldn’t have come at a worse time.

Speaking to the Gaudie, the St Machar pub which has been on the University of Aberdeen’s campus since it’s inception in 1904, described the decision as 'devastating'.

“This could be devastating to us. We have already suffered through lockdowns and thought the light at the end of the tunnel would be students coming back.

“Obviously being in the campus we rely heavily on the student population and to ban them entirely could be the end of the road for us”, says Darren, the manager of the St Machar.

"Students have the same rights as any other member of the community and should not be treated as second-class citizens." - UCU Scotland

Not only those at Aberdeen have voiced discontent at the decision. Finn Beyts, a student at the University of Strathclyde, said: “I haven’t seen any of my uni friends in six months, I’ve stuck to the rules every step of the way but tomorrow I was supposed to be seeing one of my friends for the first time since pre-lockdown. Now, I’m being told I can’t because universities can’t manage their accommodation properly, it’s ridiculous, young people are being punished for the financial decisions of universities.”

Commenting on the updated rules for students in Scotland, UCU's Scotland official Mary Senior said: "It is astounding that the Scottish Government and principals are blaming students for Covid outbreaks on university campuses. This is an incredibly contagious virus and students were encouraged to return to campuses. UCU has argued that the default position for universities should be remote and online working, in line with other workplaces.

"That is what the Scottish government should be introducing today, not threatening students with red cards and banning them from going out. Students have the same rights as any other member of the community and should not be treated as second-class citizens."

Claire, a 2nd-year Accountancy and Business student at Aberdeen University, said she thought the decision was a ‘necessary evil’.

“It’s disappointing that students are being singled out from venues across the country however it’s important to understand that it is a necessary evil in the short term to bring cases down again.”

UPDATE 24.09.20 / 7.44pm : Scottish Governmnet makes u-turn on pub ban; now only applies to upcoming weekend.


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