DIAGEO will keep its Wee County sites running during the coronavirus lockdown, arguing that alcohol production is an "essential service".

The drinks company denied any claim they would make employees work in an unsafe environment, after the Advertiser reached out following concerns from the community.

Diageo has several sites in Clackmannanshire, including a warehousing facility in Blackgrange, a cooperage in Cambus, and a coppersmiths in Alloa.

A worker based at one of those sites said staff were "stunned" to discover they still had to work following the prime minister's announcement that non-essential businesses should close on Monday, March 23.

The employee, who did not wish to be identified, told the Advertiser: "I was shocked when I saw that on Monday night; I thought I was going to be sent home, but obviously not.

"Diageo have left their sites open and they are basically classing the whisky industry as essential, which staff are absolutely stunned by.

"Everybody on site is concerned. There seems to be no way of them wanting to shut it."

Another individual also got in touch to say they "can't believe" Diageo's decision to remain open during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the company issued a lengthy response, claiming alcohol production has been classed as "essential" and that "stringent safety protocols" are in place across all sites.

A Diageo spokesperson said: "We would never ask any employee to work in an environment that we believe is not safe for them to do so, nor would we operate any site unless it is responsible and appropriate to do so.

"We have stringent safety protocols in place across all sites… and all employees who can work from home are doing so.

"We have fundamentally changed the way we work across all sites and scaled back production in many areas. This includes stopping some activities altogether, reducing output rates and changing shift patterns to ensure all our strict social distancing measures are fully enforced in all areas of our sites.

"We are complying with the latest guidance set out by the UK and Scottish Governments.

"The UK Government has reaffirmed that food and beverage production and retail, including alcohol, are essential services and that the production and supply of alcohol to the public should continue, where appropriate safety protocols are in place."


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Alloa Advertiser