Edinburgh reopening: Queues, pints and weight lifting as the Capital comes back to life after the winter coronavirus lockdown

The Capital woke up this morning with hope and excitement as mainland Scotland entered level three after months of full lockdown.

As of Monday (April 26), shops, pubs, restaurants, gyms and beauty salons have been able to reopen their doors again for eager customers.

Queues could be seen from 7am outside Primark, TK Maxx at Fort Kinnaird and JD Sport.

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Edinburgh reopening: Queues around the block as customers flock to the shops
Bars across Edinburgh reopen for the first time in months as coronavirus restrictions on hospitality ease.

Pub beer gardens are bustling with people desperate for that first sip of beer and an in-person conversation with a friend.

Lush on Edinburgh s Princes Street had a small queue of people waiting outside for its doors early in the morning.

Manager Alan Brown said staff had been looking forward to welcoming back customers.

He said: "We're all really excited, we've been preparing for the last few weeks with lots of training, with the shop, getting all the new products out as well.

It might be a little chilly, but customers in Edinburgh have shown they are eager to get back to pubs and restaurants as pictures show them enjoying a drink and a bite to eat in outdoor seating areas in the Capital.

"We're just really excited to be speaking to people again after such a long time."

He added he was looking forward to "a bit of laughter, a bit of fun" inside the store with the return of customers.

Queues also formed outside the nearby Zara store while some shops opened extra early.

Primark on Princes Street welcomed shoppers at 7.30am, and one shopper said she was delighted to be back in the store.

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."

Scotland's Towns Partnership's Phil Prentice says it is vital that economic recovery from the pandemic grows from the grassroots.

He said: "By supporting your local businesses you will be helping the national recovery.

"The importance of today for those retail, hospitality and leisure businesses which have been unable to open since December cannot be underestimated.

"Their survival, however, depends on support. And the most critical support comes from their community. This is a chance to rediscover and celebrate all that's on our doorstep.

"We hope that today can signal the start of a summer of success, both in terms of beating the pandemic and for businesses bouncing back.

"Thinking local first - and safety first - will give the greatest chances of realising those hopes."

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted early Monday: “Best wishes to businesses opening up today.

"Recent months have been tough, but your sacrifices have helped save lives - thank you.

"To those heading to shops/cafes/pubs today - enjoy!

"But please take care and respect staff asking you to take precautions for your own safety.”

Social distancing measures are still in place, and masks are still compulsory inside public areas.

Alcohol can only be served in outdoor seating areas of pubs and restaurants, and many places will require a booking.

Travel restrictions have also been lifted on Monday, allowing people to travel across Scotland and leave their local authority area.

Groups of six from six different households can meet outdoors in either a private garden or public park, as well as outdoor hospitality areas.

The Scottish Government have reminded the public that entering someone else’s house is still restricted unless it is for care reasons.

Additional reporting by PA

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