TAKEAWAY owners in the Borders have been reacting to the new coronavirus lockdown restrictions implemented at the weekend.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week that the rules were being introduced across the Scottish mainland because the country is in an “extremely serious” position regarding coronavirus.

The updated rules include tighter measures placed on takeaways, with no-one allowed to enter the premises when placing or collecting an order.

Food and drink orders must be given to customers through a hatch or doorway.

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The rules having been in force since Saturday, this newspaper spoke to takeaway shops in the Borders about the new restrictions.

Ozkan Barskanmay, of The Kebab Shop on High Street, Galashiels, said: “We don’t mind doing what we have to do but when you stop people coming into the shop it doesn’t make sense.

“They don’t stop people going in the supermarket but they stop them going in takeaways.

"People go in supermarkets and handle almost every bit of food before they take one but in takeaways they phone in before and they collect or they stand by the counter, give us their order, take their order and go away.”

Mr Barskanmay says he had to watch customers “shivering outside” the shop on the weekend while waiting for their food, adding that he “felt sorry for them”.

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“There’s no logic to what they have done,” he said. “To be honest, we thought it would make sense in crowded cities where you get so many people queuing up.

"I have been in the Borders for 25 years and it might get busy in the summertime, but at this time of year you don’t get more than two or three people in the shop at the same time.

“They should be in force in the cities, not in rural places like the Borders.”

The Kebab Shop – operating under that name for the past two years – is part of the Ozkan’s Grill chain which has stores offering Turkish food in Peebles, Jedburgh, Kelso, Selkirk and Berwick.

Mr Barskanmay says the new restrictions have already had a “negative impact on turnover” – especially at the stores in the smaller towns.

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Regarding the Jedburgh store, which has been open for 12 years, he said: “There’s almost no point in staying open. We get no grants because we don’t have to close.

“If these lockdown restrictions were the same as before that wouldn’t affect us much but once they stop customers coming into the shop it does.”

A spokesperson for the Dragon House, a Chinese takeaway on Stirling Street, Galashiels, says the new restrictions made everything “a bit slow”.

“It was a bit hard because you need to bring the food out,” said the spokesperson. “It’s not very convenient.

“We served less people,” they added. “It [business] reduced by half [on the weekend].”

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Speaking before the restrictions were introduced, Abdul Rahim, who owns Peebles takeaway The Prince of India, said: “This is a very difficult time now for businesses.

"I’ve got to pay for electricity and gas, I’ve got expenses still and there’s not enough [business].

“No matter what restrictions they do we have to respect that this is for us,” the 54-year-old said. 

“This time [is] very hard just now to operate [but] we need to save lives.

"This is a very difficult situation just now.”

Mr Rahim added that he believes the new measures will “definitely” reduce the amount of people visiting his takeaway.

Shortly before the rules came into force, The Times reported that Scotland's clinical director Jason Leitch said food outlets were featuring heavily in coronavirus contact-tracing interviews.