Coronavirus: Aberdeenshire operator creates customisable COVID signage for venues

AN Aberdeenshire operator has designed a range of customisable ‘COVID safe and compliant’ signage for bars and restaurants.

Stephen MacDonald, who runs The Square Hotel in Kintore, has created ‘Welcome Back’ banners and beer mats featuring a ‘COVID safe and compliant’ logo alongside a number of guidance points for pub and restaurant customers, including ‘please sanitise your hands before entering’, ‘please keep physical distancing in accordance with government guidelines’, ‘please follow the one-way system’, ‘please order via the app’ and ‘no cash payments’. The signage is customisable, with operators able to add their venue’s name, logo and colours.

MacDonald, who took on the former Kintore Arms in 2015, refurbished and expanded the business before relaunching it as the six-bedroom Square Hotel,  has submitted the signage to Aberdeenshire Council, along with his operational procedures for reopening and risk assessment – for which he drew on his off-shore background – which he hopes to be able to share with others in the trade as a template.

And he said 12 venues in the area are already on-board to order the customisable signage and form a ‘steering group’ to streamline communication with local authorities on reopening.

“I am cracking on with plans for reopening and a huge part of that is gaining the confidence of customers; we’ve got to get their trust as soon as they walk in the door,” he said.

“It has to be safe for staff and customers and we need to get those messages out. But we’ve also got to look at things to make the customer experience enjoyable, not terrify them.

“As soon as Nicola Sturgeon said outdoor areas could open in phase two I got itchy feet and thought ‘let’s get this show on the road’. I looked for signage online but all I could find was the sort of bright yellow health and safety-type signs and they were all different so I decided to come up with my own design which I think is tasteful and still gets the message across.

“I started speaking to other operators and now I’ve got 12 bars onboard so far and hoping to get more. There’s absolutely no profit in this for us, it’s cost price; and pubs can add their own logo and colours but it’s the same standardised signage and message.

“We’re obviously still waiting on the Scottish Government guidance but I’ve been liaising with Aberdeenshire Council and they like the idea. Our risk assessment and operational procedures cover everything so when the Scottish Government guidance comes out we can add or remove things if need be but we’ve got the framework in place.

“And I’m hoping to get more bars onboard with the signage. At the end of the day we’re all in this together.”

Any operators interested in the signage can email