One much-loved Dumbarton institution that won’t be reopening just yet is The Gossip Shop, with the cafe’s owners set to wait until next month before welcoming customers back for coffee, cake and conversation.
The family-run business, which has been a feature in the town for more than 40 years, is set to remain closed until mid-May – with Karen Greer, who runs the establishment started by her mother Mary alongside sisters Marie Joe and Clare, putting the health of staff and customers first.
She told the Lennox: “We’re going to wait a few weeks to see how the numbers go. At the moment we don’t think it would be sensible to open back up.
“We are desperate to see all our customers again but at the moment how would you police who sits where? We’re waiting until the restrictions are lifted a wee bit more – because for somewhere like us with only one entrance and exit it’s not ideal.
“We feel, for safety at the moment, that we do need to hold off.
“Everyone in the industry has been in the same position, it has been difficult but we haven’t been alone. We’ve had help from the government which has been appreciated and we’ve been selling cakes online whilst we’ve been closed.
“Health and wellbeing is the most important thing at the moment though. We have a lot of older customers who are possibly more at risk. They should’ve all had the vaccine now, but we haven’t as staff. Once we’ve had the vaccine then we’ll be in a position to reopen.”
And Karen admits that things could feel different when customers return to the cafe.
She added: “I don’t think it’s going to be how it was with groups of people sitting together. The Gossip Shop is somewhere to meet friends and that’s not ideal when you are only able to meet one other person.”