Beer gardens and shopping return as Scotland’s coronavirus restrictions ease

Lucinda Cameron, PA Scotland
·3-min read

Cafes, beer gardens, non-essential shops and museums are reopening in Scotland on Monday as lockdown easing continues.

Early-morning queues formed outside shops on Edinburgh’s Princes Street of shoppers keen to snap up a bargain in person.

The country moves from Level 4 to Level 3 of the Scottish Government’s five tiers of restrictions on April 26.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced last week that the continued suppression of coronavirus and the success of the vaccine rollout meant some restrictions can be lifted on Monday.

It means gyms, swimming pools, libraries and museums can reopen along with cafes, restaurants and beer gardens.

Hospitality will need to close at 8pm indoors, with alcohol only allowed to be served outside.

People will be able to meet others for a meal or drink, with up to six people from two households allowed to socialise indoors in a public place such as a cafe or restaurant.

Other changes include the resumption of driving lessons and tests while close contact services, such as beauty parlours, can also return.

Funerals and weddings – including post-funeral events and receptions – will be allowed to take place with up to 50 people and alcohol permitted.

Travel between Scotland, England and Wales will be permitted and tourist accommodation can welcome back visitors.

Non-essential work inside people’s homes – such as painting, decorating or repairing – can take place.

Adults on the shielding list can return to the workplace if they cannot work from home while children who have been shielding can go back to school.

VisitScotland is calling on Scots to support the recovery of the tourism sector by enjoying short breaks, days-out and staycations in Scotland.

Woman sitting at cafe
Cafes are reopening as restrictions ease (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: “It is clear that tourism has been one of the greatest economic casualties of the pandemic.

“We’ve had a year of very little investment, job losses and business closures – it will take time and significant investment to get us back to a thriving industry.

“With the right support, tourism and events can lead the economic recovery and boost inward investment where it’s needed most, but to do that the industry needs the support of people living in Scotland in the first instance.

“Many businesses are reopening after months of no trade, and with staycations set to be popular again this year, there is a real opportunity for us all to rally round and show our support for local tourism.”

The Scottish Retail Consortium (SRC) urged people to support the retail sector.

David Lonsdale, SRC director, said: “We encourage Scots to get out and visit their favourite shops over the coming weeks knowing every purchase they make and every item they buy is a local job supported and a high street helped.

“Unlocking consumer spending will be central to Scotland’s economic recovery and to bouncing back quickly.”

One shopper at Primark in Edinburgh told PA news agency how she was delighted to be able to head inside the store with her family for a browse.

She said: “It’s great fun, I got loads – jammies, a jacket, socks, a pair of jeans, stuff for the kids – they were running riot, they thought it was great.”