Cafe wins legal battle to stay open under coronavirus rules

By Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland
·3-min read

A Glasgow cafe can stay open after winning a legal battle over coronavirus regulations.

Lawyers for Eusebi Deli on Park Road, in the west end, have secured an interim interdict at the city’s sheriff court to stop the council issuing a closure order.

Under current temporary restrictions in Scotland, bars and licensed restaurants in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde health board area, and four others across central Scotland, have been forced to close for all but takeaway services.

Licensed cafes can remain open if they do not sell alcohol, however the restrictions have triggered confusion about how a cafe is defined.

Eusebi Deli has two floors, with the basement area operating as a restaurant which is closed, while the ground floor serves hot drinks, cakes and breakfast and lunch meals.

Its legal team said the court agreed the ground floor premises meet the legal definition of “cafe” under the regulations.

Owner Giovanna Eusebi said: “We are delighted by the decision of the court which vindicates the position we have taken from the very beginning.

“Since reopening in the summer, we have served thousands of customers in a safe and secure cafe and deli environment with every precaution in place.

“We look forward to getting back to concentrating on welcoming the people of Glasgow on that basis.”

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

The rules were introduced on October 9 and were due to be lifted on October 26, but will now be in place until November 2 when a new five-tiered system of restrictions is imposed.

Stephen McGowan, of the law firm TLT which represented the deli, said: “Acting on behalf of Eusebi Deli we secured an interim interdict on October 19, preventing Glasgow City Council from issuing a closure order under the relevant coronavirus regulations.

“The court agreed with our submissions that the premises met the legal definition of ‘cafe’ under the regulations, meaning they can continue to trade.”

The deli is situated in Glasgow’s west end (Gerardo Jaconelli/PA)
The deli is situated in Glasgow’s west end (Gerardo Jaconelli/PA)

A Glasgow City Council spokeswoman said: “Legal proceedings are now live in relation to one premises and, for that reason, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to make any detailed comment on that case.

“However our existing advice to businesses about what does and doesn’t constitute a cafe remains unchanged.”

The council said its environmental health and trading standards officers have visited more than 1,200 premises since additional measures were introduced and have found overall compliance is good.

Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken said: “I find it hard to criticise operators who are fighting for their businesses and the livelihoods of those they employ.

“Businesses are interpreting the rules in whichever way gives them a chance to keep trading – and that shouldn’t come as any surprise to those who set the rules, or those of us in local government that have been given the task of implementing them.

“Like hundreds of businesses across the city, I am anxious to see Glasgow’s hospitality sector open for business – and our economic recovery gather pace.

“However that is only going to happen when we slow transmission of the virus.”