PUBS and restaurants in Dumbarton and the Vale could be forced to shut down again if they fail to comply with regulations imposed by the Scottish Government.

The warning comes after the Scottish Government imposed new restrictions in West Dunbartonshire which means residents won’t be able to visit others from separate households indoors due to a spike in Covid cases.

Restaurants and pubs in the area have remained open, but one business in the area previously volunteered to close its doors for one night because of overcrowding and failing to enforce social distancing between customers.

Before the new restrictions were imposed, officials and members of West Dunbartonshire's licensing board had been visiting venues with a licence to ensure they are following the new guidance, and offering advice to those with outdoor seating areas.

The issue was discussed when the board met on Wednesday afternoon.

Council leader Jonathan McColl said: “I think that the team have been doing a fantastic job. There have been a couple of issues, one where a licensed premise had to be shut down for an evening because of overcrowding.

“The owner then volunteered to shut it down after a discussion with the board.”

The board's chairman, Leven councillor Ian Dickson, said he was pleased that the majority of these premises seemed to be following the guidelines issued by the council and the Scottish Government.

He said: “My observation has been that these places have gone out their way as much as they can to comply with the new regulations.

“They have been getting in touch with the Licensing Standards Officers (LSOs) for advice.”

Raymond Lynch, depute clerk to the licensing board, who has been working in partnership with Police Scotland and the LSO team, said that the board had accompanied them at night to visit licensed premises.

Mr Lynch said: “From our experience there has been no issue from a local level and we have managed to cover the Covid requirements.

“From my experience so far the vast majority of local premises have made attempts to comply with these guidelines.

“We have been quite clear with what is at stake from a health point of view as well as from a business point of view.”

SNP councillor Marie McNair asked if most of these venues were complying with track and trace.

She was informed that they were, now it is mandatory, and that the board was keeping an eye on it.

Dr Emilia Crighton, head of health services at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, added: “Luckily to this date there has been no transmission of Covid which has been linked to these premises.

“It is important that we reinforce the social distances and control measures to allow bars and restaurants to remain open, otherwise we will end up like Aberdeen and have to impose an extensive control over the patch.

“This is about reinforcing the message and saying well done to date.”