THE owners of a well-established Greenock pub fear it will autumn before they are in a position to reopen.

Licensee Diane Rebecchi, who runs the Burns Lounge in Braeside, says she believes the trade will not be able to get properly back into action until most people have had their coronavirus vaccine.

Diane, the wife of Councillor Ciano Rebecchi, says the fact that the furlough scheme has been extended to April is a clue that things will not be back to normal for some time.

She said: "To me the extension of furlough is an indication.

"The government has also said that everyone should have the vaccine by the autumn."

Mr Rebecchi added: "Even under eased restrictions it would have been impossible for us to open.

"It is impossible to run a pub keeping people two metres apart and even then we would only be allowed 20 people.

"What if you and your friend came to the door and we were one over, you couldn't send the other person away.

"We cannot even run a charity night."

The couple carried out refurbishments and brought it up to Covid-secure standard including a temperature gun but they have not opened since March.

They have had the pub for 45 years and it is very much a community affair.

Diane said: "We miss all our customers, they call us up and say they miss the company.

"A couple of my customers haven't been out the door since March.

"I've never experienced anything like this in the licensed trade, it's been dreadful."

Diane feels that pubs and hospitality have been unfairly penalised by government restrictions.

She said: "People could go out to supermarkets pick things up, put them back, walk in to any pub or hotel, give their details and if someone had contracted the virus it will be traced to the pub.

"Businesses are not being treated equally."