Pubs and hairdressers reopen in Scotland

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Alan Bannerman owns the Phoenix bar in Dundee

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Alan Bannerman owns the Phoenix bar in Dundee, which is ready to serve pints once more

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 it would also bring the greatest risk for potential resurgence of the virus.

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.

Ahead of the easing of restrictions, the first minister warned it was now more important than ever to stick to public health measures.

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

She said: “The changes that come into force are the highest risk changes so far since we started to come out of lockdown.

“Many of them involve indoor activity and we know the risk of spreading the virus is significantly higher inside – in a pub for example – than outdoors.

“We also see that in other parts of the world these kinds of places are already being shut down all over again because transmission has increased.”

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

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PA Media

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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.

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PA Media

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Scottish Labour Leader Richard Leonard getting a trim at Scrimshaws and Co salon in Glasgow

Pubs and bars

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Iain Ponton

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Iain Ponton owns Oz Bar in Edinburgh which has installed new toilet facilities and upgraded its cleaning regime in preparation for the return of business

Iain Ponton, owner of Oz Bar in Edinburgh’s city centre, said he was allowing 50 people into his pub when normally more than 100 could fit inside.

He said: “We will open at 13:00 on Wednesday. I’m a bit nervous as I’m not sure how it is going to go but every thing is now in place to reopen.

“I have had new toilets installed and upgraded the cleaning regime. All my staff are trained on the rules and regulations and we have masks for customers who want them.

“There is a board outside with the rules and regulations and we will be asking people to email us so we have their email details.

“It’s been a big challenge and a new experience for us.”

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Alan Bannerman has no idea what to expect when he opens on Wednesday afternoon

In Dundee, the sight of a barman in a protective visor will be the new normal at the Phoenix bar. Owner Alan Bannerman said he was “slightly apprehensive” about reopening after four months.

He said: “I love this pub. I’ve been here for 33 years, every painting on the wall, everything is down to me, it’s like my own wee bairn.

“I really don’t know what to expect. I’ve had 50 years as a shopkeeper and I’ve never experienced anything like this before.

“People don’t come to pubs for drink, if you’re making a list of reasons they come, drink is about number seven.

“It’s atmosphere, craic, all sorts of things.”

The pub has required a little preparation to reopen, with hand sanitiser at each table and the bar cleared to allow easier cleaning.

He said: “The customers are more than just customers, they come here five or six days a week, they’ve become friends.”

Restaurants

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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.

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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

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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

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St Cuthbert’s in Edinburgh had already reopened for private prayer but churches can now hold reduced capacity services

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

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.

Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Church was planning to hold its first mass on Wednesday.

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Glasgow Central Mosque

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Glasgow Central Mosque will hold prayers for the first time in almost four months

Glasgow Central mosque said it was considering the guidance but would be opening for 14:00 prayers for the first time since lockdown was imposed on 23 March.

It is creating its own app for bookings and said although rituals would have to be adapted, it was a first step.

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.

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

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Www.lochness.com

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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 VA has announced it will reopen on 27 August.

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

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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

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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.

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