Scotland

Coronavirus in Scotland: Biggest relaxation of rules take place

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Media captionHairdressers, pubs, cinemas, tourist attractions and places of worship have reopened

Scotland has begun its most significant relaxation of coronavirus measures since the country went into lockdown in March.

Hairdressers and barbers, bars and restaurants, cinemas, tourist attractions, places of worship and childcare settings can now all reopen.

Nicola Sturgeon said it is "the biggest step so far" in exiting lockdown.

But she warned she would "not hesitate" to close bars and restaurants again if the coronavirus starts to spread.

The reopening of indoor spaces requires anti-virus precautions to be in place and all customers will be asked to provide their name and a phone number, as part of the NHS Test and Protect scheme.

The first minister warned it was now more important than ever to stick to public health measures.

Image caption Nicola Sturgeon was blunt when she said sticking to public health measures was now more important than ever

She said that by some margin these are the highest-risk changes to date as they include indoor activity where the risk of spread is significantly higher than outdoors,

Speaking at the daily briefing, she added: "I have to say I am even more nervous about today's changes than I have been about earlier changes.

"It is vital, more vital than it has been at any stage of this crisis so far, that all of us stick rigidly to the rules and guidance on how to behave in these different settings."

The first minister said she would not hesitate to reverse changes if the virus gets out of control again.

She said: "If these rules are not respected and the virus spreads again then I am afraid I am going to be standing here in a few weeks' time saying we're shutting pubs and restaurants again."

Many businesses are opening their doors for the first time since March, but not all are planning to do so right away.

Hairdressers and barbers

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Barbers across have been serving people since midnight as part of the lockdown restrictions easing further

Tony Mann opened his barber shop in Giffnock just after midnight, and plans to cut hair for the entire day.

He told the BBC: "For the next 24 hours, I'm going to stand here and do what I do best."

Mr Mann, who first opened his barbers in 2014, said the midnight opening was a way of offering loyal customers a haircut as soon as possible.

He said it had been stressful preparing his shop to be "Covid-secure", but it was very important to do so.

Image copyright PA Media
Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard getting a trim at Scrimshaws and Co salon in Glasgow

Pubs and bars

Image caption Paul Russell said messages of support from his bar's regulars during the lockdown was a lifeline for him and his staff

In Dundee city centre, Paul Russell, licensee of the Bank Bar, said he was delighted to be back serving regulars in the pub after a "long three months".

He said: "At one point we did think we would not be here but obviously we're glad to be back.

"We've been doing takeaway food to keep our hand in and it's been quite successful.

"Now we've put a lot of things in place for the safety of not just the staff but the customers as well."

Image caption The Bank Bar has been providing takeaway food during the lockdown
Image caption Two of the first customers to be served at The Scotsman's Lounge pub in Edinburgh

Restaurants

Image caption Neil Douglas is offering the same food but the dining experience will be very different

Hand sanitiser, plastic screens and passing places on the way to the toilet, are among the measures in place to keep people safe at Ardnamurchan restaurant in Glasgow.

These protections have allowed the business to relax the 2m rule and increase their capacity to become more financially viable.

Director Neil Douglas, said: "We have installed contactless taps and flushes in the toilet and weekly deep cleans. Our staff are organised into teams and we have turned our business model on its head.

"However, the end product is still langoustines from Ardnamurchan and venison straight off the estate, so fundamentally the food on the plate is still the same".

The dining experience will be different - paper disposable menus, no salt and pepper on tables and sealed, pre-packaged cutlery.

Image caption Ardnamurchan is unrecognisable with its screens but clever distancing measures mean it has retained an 80% capacity

But just because bars and restaurants can open does not mean they will.

Colin Wilkinson, managing director of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said the hospitality sector would be struggling for a long time.

He said: "About a third of licensed premises will still not be able to reopen and be viable even with the reduced 1m social distancing restrictions in place.

"So we are looking for ongoing support for not just a few weeks but months or maybe even years ahead to get us back to anywhere near where we were before the pandemic."

Cinemas

Image caption Alastair Cameron said everything had now been put in place to enable the cinema to open safely when the time comes

Cinemas can open, but very few will.

Odeon appears to be the only major operator reopening on Wednesday in two locations - Glasgow Quay and Dunfermline. Vue & Cineworld will return on 31 July and most others have pencilled in late July or August for a comeback.

Alastair Cameron, owner of the Dominion Cinema in Edinburgh, which is the oldest cinema in Scotland, said he was unable to reopen until about mid-August.

He said: "The only product which is available at the moment is older films and our thoughts and feelings are that we need new films for our patrons to enjoy.

"If we opened and could not attract much business then we would have to close again so we need to wait until there is a new film released. I have my eye on Tenet which is a $200m film, which looks good."

Mr Cameron has removed 60 seats from his cinema for social distancing.

Places of worship

Image caption Aberdeen's Masjid Alhikmah mosque is providing free masks and hand sanitiser, and has a queuing system in place which limits its capacity to 50 people

After months, worshippers can now gather in congregations again, with physical distancing.

In Aberdeen, afternoon prayers returned at the city's Masjid Alhikmah mosque.

Spaces have been marked out on the floor for social distancing during prayer.

The Catholic Church in Scotland expects the majority of churches to reopen, but some will take longer to have workable measures in place.

Most have already been open for private prayer but they can now hold socially-distanced services for up to 50 people.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said the general mood was "excitement and relief" that the period of restrictions seemed to be coming closer to an end.

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Image caption Canon Gerald Sharkey during Communion at the first mass held at St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow since 19 March

The Church of Scotland said the opportunity to return to places of worship, even on a limited basis, would bring spiritual and mental-health benefits.

The church has left it up to each congregation to decide when to reopen their buildings for worship, subject to presbytery checks of individual risk assessments.

Guidance has been issued to places of worship by the Scottish government . Measures which will remain for all faiths include the retention of worshippers' contact details for Test and Protect if required, a ban on hymn books and shared items and avoiding singing or chanting.

Communities Secretary Aileen Campbell, said: "I know it has been very difficult for our faith communities to be unable to come together in their places of worship during such challenging times.

"The updated guidance reflects the evolving scientific and health advice and has been developed in consultation with leaders and representatives of Scotland's faith and belief communities."

Museums and visitor attractions

Image copyright Www.lochness.com
Image caption The Loch Ness visitor centre has all its virus control measures in place

Museums, galleries and monuments can open with public health measures and booking in place.

But the big attractions in Scotland say they will open at their own pace.

In Glasgow, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will not return until 17 August, with the Riverside Museum following a week later and GoMA returning on 5 October.

Dundee's V&A has announced it will reopen on 27 August.

One attraction that is ready is the Loch Ness Centre in Inverness.

Image copyright Www.lochness.dom

The centre says customers will benefit from the new measures, which control the numbers flowing through the exhibition.

Other attractions are expected to return gradually.

The Surgeons' Hall Museums, which include The History of Surgery Museum and the Dental Collection, will open on Wednesday, but Glasgow's Science Centre needs longer because it is updating and improving its experiences.

Libraries

Libraries are able to operate but will return in line with each local council's programme of reopening.

City councils in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen all said their priority was to open after ensuring the facilities were safe for staff and the public.

Tourism

Image copyright Visit Scotland

Visit Scotland has launched a campaign to attract people to tourist attractions across Scotland.

The "Take five for tourism" appeal asks people across Scotland to support the sector in its "time of need".

The five actions that could help restart the visitor economy are taking a trip, visiting an attraction or experience, shopping locally, dining out and booking a staycation.

With tourism worth more than £11.5bn to the Scottish economy and supporting one in 12 jobs, the sector has been devastated by the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown and travel restrictions.