A BARRHEAD pub boss has told how he struggled to celebrate the end of Covid restrictions this week – and slammed the move as “too little, too late.”

Safety measures put in place at hospitality venues last month to curb the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus were brought to an end on Monday.

It means pubs and restaurants no longer have to stick to table service only or enforce one-metre physical distancing.

However, Jonathan Wengel, who owns the Cross Stobs Inn, said having the restrictions in place over the festive period has been hugely damaging to businesses.

“I’m furious,” he told the Barrhead News. “I’m scared to look at the numbers for how much money we’ve lost. While we pulled it back on New Year week, we’ve lost well into the thousands.

“We welcome the fact most of the restrictions are being lifted but it’s too little, too late.

“No-one goes out in January.”

Mr Wengel also criticised the Scottish Government over a lack of financial support for the hospitality sector.

He added: “We haven’t had any grants but, if we had, they wouldn’t even skim the surface of what we’ve lost.”

Derek McLachlan, general manager at the Uplawmoor Hotel, revealed it lost 40 per cent of business last month as Covid restrictions led to a spate of cancellations but he hopes brighter times lie ahead now these have been removed.

“I would like to think that this variant wasn’t as severe as people may have feared,” he said. “I do believe the public is going to be confident about going out.

“The difficulty is that January and February is traditionally a quiet time of the year and also we live in Scotland, so the weather is now going against us.

“It’s not like when it opened up initially and people were able to sit out in beer gardens.

“I just hope a new variant doesn’t come along and take the wind out of our sales.”

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said the tougher restrictions imposed on the hospitality trade last month had made enough of a difference to the spread of the Omicron variant to justify the financial impact.

She added: “That’s not me saying I don’t understand and agree that those measures had a very adverse affect on businesses.”