THE owner of a city centre bar says he will open in breach of lockdown rules to protest restrictions by offering free meals to those in need.

Buck's Bar, on West Regent Street, will host a "peaceful, socially distanced protest" on Monday following confirmation venues in Glasgow will remain closed for another week. 

The watering hole had been gearing up for the hospitality industry to restart next week only for an extension of the booze ban and curfew measures affecting businesses.

READ MORE: Buck's Bar restaurateur hits out at coronavirus restrictions

Announcing the protest, owner Michael Bergson said: "We are currently only open for takeaway as we've been shut down 16 days along with all hospitality venues in the Central Belt.

"We were due to reopen on Monday but now we've just been told five days before it that that's not going to happen anymore and we're going to be shut for another week.

"It's put a lot of pressure on us so we are now staging a peaceful protest on Monday.

"We are asking you to invite someone you know who is in need to come along to Bucks for a complimentary meal.

"It's a chance for someone in need, whether they are feeling down, lonely isolated, they've lost their job or they've even lost someone due to Covid.

"They can come along with one guest who is either from the same household or in their support bubble and have a socially distanced meal on the house."

Under the current restrictions, bars and restaurants in the Central Belt must stay shut and can only operate a takeaway service. Licensed cafes can open until 6pm but cannot serve alcohol.

Mr Bergson says the protest will focus on there being "zero scientific evidence" between the hospitality industry being opened safely and the virus spreading, the "failure" of both the UK Government and Scottish Government to engage, and "public mental health". 

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Mr Bergson added: "We believe that social interaction, food, drink, music, all these things when done safely is vital for public mental health.

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"I recently took a message from a nurse working in an ICU in Scotland who admitted that the amount of admissions they are getting in the ICU for attempted overdoses was actually overtaking admissions for Covid.

"We don't think the balance is right between public mental health and the spread of the virus."

Announcing the extension on closures during her daily briefing yesterday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “I want to stress again that none of these decisions are being taken lightly – this is all about trying to save lives and minimise the health damage that we know this virus is capable of doing."