One of the North Highlands’ leading hoteliers has given his reaction to reopening after 4 months in lockdown.
Murray Lamont, proud owner of Mackays Hotel in Wick, Caithness, on the North Coast 500, said:
“We still have some pretty severe restrictions to abide by.
“Families dining with us will have to vacate the premises by 8pm, which means that in order to have a leisurely meal they will have to be in by 6pm.
“This doesn’t suit everybody.
“But we’re going in the right direction.
“Staycation is a saviour.
“With the relaxation of traveling restrictions it means we can welcome visitors from all over the UK, which is excellent, but they won’t be able to enjoy a local whisky or gin unless they sit outside, remembering this is April in Caithness.
“It also means that residents travelling north will have to arrive and dine early, which also isn’t always possible.
“With the social distancing requirements, we are far from being in a position of maximising our business.
“We totally respect and operate within the given guidelines so that everyone, staff and customers are safe.
“We have a wedding taking place and they will be permitted to have alcohol with their meal, but the diners in the other parts of the hotel will only have the option of soft drinks.
“It is difficult to explain the difference in regulations to locals and visitors alike of this situation.
“The supply chain isn’t without its challenges.
“Our suppliers have to guess how busy everyone will be and it is inevitable that we will experience some shortages until they are back on an even keel.”
Mackays Hotel on Union Street in Wick has been a leading accommodation provider and a cornerstone of local community life in Caithness on the North Coast 500 for over six decades since being purchased by the first family member in 1955, Murray Lamont’s maternal grandmother.
The hotel is now owned and operated by third generation of Lamonts, Murray and Ellie, along with their 34-year-old daughter, Jennifer, supporting 25 local jobs and welcoming around 54,000 global visitors to the North Highlands each year.