LAST orders were called at bars across Dumbarton and the Vale more than three months ago when pubs were forced to close their doors due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But on Monday, beer gardens and outdoor drinking areas will be welcoming customers back for the first time since March 20.

Across the area, seven pubs have applied for temporary licences to serve alcohol outdoors from July 6.

These include Fentons Bar, Alexandria, Tullie Inn, Balloch, The Waterhouse Inn, Balloch, McKenzies Bar, Alexandria, The Bay Inn, Bowling, Lomond Park Hotel, Balloch, and The Abbotsford Hotel, Dumbarton.

All venues are hoping to use either an outdoor area or car park.

On July 15, premises are allowed to welcome customers inside.

But as the hospitality sector gradually eases out of lockdown, people are being encouraged to socialise safely.

Anyone planning on sitting-in during a trip to a beer garden will be asked to provide their name and contact telephone number to the business as well as logging the date and time of their visit.

In the event an individual who has been in such a venue tests positive for Covid-19, NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service may ask for details of anyone present at the same time in order to contact them and advise them to isolate.   

The First Minister said: “I hope that as we take these first gradual steps out of lockdown people will begin to feel more of the sense of normality that we have worked so hard for - although it is important to remember that the virus has not gone away so we cannot get complacent.

“If we continue to stick to the rules we will be able to drive the virus down further and live less restricted lives in the weeks and months ahead. Until then support local businesses if you can, socialise safely and make sure that while you enjoy yourself you also protect others.”