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Quiet start as shops allowed to reopen

Angie Brown

Edinburgh and East reporter

It was a slow start for Edinburgh’s shopping centres on the first day of their reopening.

Many stores remained shut in Waverley Mall with only a few more open in Ocean Terminal in the north of the city.

Mark Sleet
Mark Sleet shopped at the Waverley Mall during his lunch break

Mark Sleet, a project manager building another shopping arcade in Edinburgh - the St James Centre, said he nipped out to Waverley Mall in his lunchbreak to buy stationary.

He said: “I’ve been travelling up from Morpeth in England every day for work and it’s like going back in time.

“It’s really getting back to normal in England and the shopping malls are busy. Waverley Mall was empty today."

Chris Pearson
Chris Pearson thinks more shops will open when more shoppers turn out

It was also quiet at Ocean Terminal on the first day shopping centres could reopen in Scotland.

Chris Pearson said: “It felt empty so I’m sure a lot of the shopkeepers would have been disappointed.

“Quite a lot of the shops also weren’t open. I can understand why the tourist shops weren’t open but other shops must be waiting until they think it’s going to get busier.”

No 'great getaway' at Edinburgh Airport

David Cowan

BBC Scotland

Two passengers at Edinburgh Airport
Getty Images

Travellers arriving in the UK from dozens of countries no longer have to self-isolate for two weeks from today.

The rules are being relaxed for arrivals for 75 countries and British overseas territories. However Scotland still requires people travelling from Spain to quarantine, unlike England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The Scottish government announced on Wednesday it was changing the rules on quarantine for 57 countries apart from Spain and Serbia but if anyone thought that would result in a great getaway today then it’s not happening yet. Edinburgh Airport is still very quiet. At the height of the lockdown, there were days when there wasn’t a single passenger travelling through it. It is picking up but it is still very quiet. On the same day last year it had 413 flights with 52,000 passengers. Today it has 70 flights with about 4,000 passengers.”

David Cowan

Lockdown 'avoided thousands of deaths' in Scotland

David Cowan

BBC Scotland

closed shop

An Edinburgh Unviersity study has suggested between 7,000 and 40,000 people could have died from coronavirus in Scotland if the country had not gone into lockdown.

Scientists have tried to estimate would have happened if Scotland had copied the approach taken in Sweden, where a lockdown was not imposed.

The country has a population of over 10 million and has suffered more than 5,200 deaths from Covid-19.

Scotland's death toll per head of population has been higher.

With a population of 5.46 million here, there have been 4,119 deaths linked to the virus.

Read more here.

'New era' for Edinburgh Zoo as it reopens

Good Morning Scotland

BBC Radio Scotland

Edinburgh Zoo
Getty Images

As Edinburgh Zoo reopens, its chief executive David Field has said it's a new era.

"Today is booked out - it's a wonderful new day, it's almost like we're opening the zoo for the first time.

"It's exciting, there's a little bit of trepidation but it's a new era."

He told Good Morning Scotland that social distancing measures were in place and more areas of the zoo such as cafes would reopen as time went on.

What is the law around gathering in public places?

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The first minister has called on people to avoid mass gatherings after police dispersed large crowds in Glasgow's Kelvingrove Park yesterday.

Nicola Sturgeon warned that those and similar scenes in other public spaces across the country such as The Meadows in Edinburgh, risk a resurgence in Covid-19.

But what is the law around such gatherings? Dr Andrew Tickell, a lecturer in law at Glasgow Caledonian University, says the same rules are still in place that have been enforced for the last three months during lockdown.

Those two specific categories are around not leaving your home without a reasonable excuse – even though now you can leave your home to engage in recreation outside with people from not more than two households - and restrictions on gatherings.

"It stands now that is illegal to leave your house, unless you have a reasonable excuse," Dr Tickell told BBC Radio Scotland.

"That is true today, as it was true three months ago. I just think the social experience of those rules is quite different to what the rules actually say. It hasn’t felt as if that is the extent of these restrictions."

ScotRail to provide free face masks at 18 stations on Monday

A ScotRail train at Glasgow central station
PA Media

ScotRail will provide face masks for free at more than a dozen stations on Monday as coverings become mandatory on public transport.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Thursday that from 22 June passengers would be required to cover their faces on all forms of public transport, apart from children under five and people with certain medical conditions.

To help people comply, railway operator ScotRail said face masks will be available free of charge at 18 of its busiest stations for a limited period but asked passengers to bring their own if possible.

The stations include Queen Street, Central, Exhibition Centre, Hyndland and Argyle Street in Glasgow and Haymarket and Waverley in Edinburgh.

The others are Inverness, Aberdeen, Johnstone, Ayr, Paisley Gilmour Street, Linlithgow, Falkirk High, Bathgate, Airdrie, Dalmuir and Motherwell.