Supporting Scotland's Venues

The gig venues, cafes, bars and theatres that make life worth living have been thrown under the bus by the government. We’re here to support them

Article by Peter Simpson | 17 Mar 2020
  • Food Survey 2014

The Skinny is pretty intimately entwined with the bars, gig venues, art galleries and entertainment venues of this fair land. They’re our community – they host the events we cover every day, they stock the magazine we produce and you all diligently read every month, they buy the advertising space that helps us deliver everything that we do to our readers for free. We love them, and we hope the feeling’s mutual.

Health always comes first, and in a viral pandemic it makes perfect sense for the government to tell people to stay indoors and avoid unnecessary social interaction. No-one is disputing the epidemiology – the more contact you have with new people, the greater the spread of a virus like COVID-19. Social distancing – it’s not exactly a barrel of laughs, but it makes sense.

It makes no sense whatsoever to tell people to stay indoors, but to allow the places that those interactions would occur to stay open. Yet this is exactly what’s happened; venues and staff having to take it into their own hands whether they stay open or close, assuming that their personal or financial circumstances even allow them to make anything like a free choice. Many of these are cashflow-dependent businesses, and if no-one's coming in there's no cash flowing. Yet the public are being advised to stay indoors and avoid these places entirely, so what's the solution?

From the UK government, it's a big fat 'hmmph'. It’s an absolute fucking disgrace that the people who run and work in bars, cafes and restaurants have been left to flounder in the middle ground; unable to claim on their insurance because they haven’t ‘technically’ been told to close, but all of their customers were just told by the Prime Minister not to visit them.

Of course, The Skinny very much has a dog in this fight – we need these places to stay open for our sake, but also for the sake of all of us. When we come out of this period, we all want and need there to be something good to return to. Pubs, gigs, plays, art, restaurants, spoken word, stand-up – these are the things we all love, and the government needs to provide support to the people behind them NOW or some of them might not make it.

Maybe this article will be moot by later today – the pre-briefings ahead of the latest UK Government press conference suggest that something of some sort may be planned to mitigate yesterday’s damage – but we want to let the venues of this country and beyond know that we support you. We can offer a platform, solidarity, and, for what it's worth, the knowledge that we're thinking of you.

Support for the bars, cafes, gig venues, theatres, art galleries, co-working spaces and comedy clubs we all love needs to arrive, and quickly. If we’re all staying indoors, they shouldn’t be left out in the cold.

Peter Simpson is Digital Editor and Food & Drink Editor of The Skinny; if you're running a venue and want to get in touch, email him on or hit him up on Twitter at @ptrsmpsn