Scots told to stick to the rules as hairdressers and click and collect reopen
Scots have been urged to stick to the new rules as the country begins to make its way out of lockdown on Monday, with hairdressers and non-essential retail allowed to reopen.
Other changes include garden centres, car showrooms, and homeware stores allowed to operate.
More university and college students will also be allowed to return to campus, and contact sports can resume for 11 to 17 year olds.
It follows the change from a ‘Stay at Home’ to a ‘Stay Local’ order on Friday.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney told the country to enjoy the latest easing of restrictions, but to stay local and stick to the rules.
On a visit to a Perthshire garden centre on Sunday, Mr Swinney said: “It's absolutely wonderful to be out and about again. After the long winter months of being cooped up inside, I know everyone will be keen to get back to our more normal lives.
“We are seeing real progress in our fight against this dreadful pandemic. The hard sacrifices of the country – coupled with the fantastic effort of the vaccine programme getting jabs into arms of millions of Scots – is really paying dividends.
“Businesses like this garden centre will be relieved and rightfully optimistic that our recovery can really start to take off.
“But while it’s great news that garden centres and hairdressers are allowed to reopen, everyone needs to bear in mind that it doesn’t mean the virus has gone away.
“So I’m urging everyone to enjoy these latest freedoms - but remember the rules. That means sticking to F.A.C.T.S. and, of course, staying local."
On Sunday 343 new cases of Covid-19 were reported, with a test positivity rate of 2.7 per cent.
Some 2,553,837 people have received a first dose of vaccine and 451,057 have received a second dose.
Dobbies Garden Centres will reopen its Edinburgh, Dunfermline and Livingston stores on Monday.
Chief Executive Graeme Jenkins said: “We welcome this updated guidance from the Scottish Government, enabling us to reopen our stores across the Lothians and Fife. The safety of our team members and customers remains Dobbies’ number one priority.
“Spring is the time when people want to get back out into their gardens, and with proven health and wellbeing benefits, reopening in Scotland is a positive development.”
Mr Swinney warned shoppers to stay away from busy areas.
“Easter is always a time for people getting busy in their gardens as the days get longer and, hopefully, much warmer,” he said. “But remember, the virus likes crowds of people. So, please don’t everyone rush at once. If the venue you are heading to looks very busy, perhaps try another place or come back another time.“The virus is down but it’s not yet out and the last thing we need is to see it making a comeback and undoing all the progress from the massive effort and sacrifices we have all had to make.“But being here today demonstrates that we are making very welcome steps back towards the normal life we all so dearly wish for.“My message is simple – enjoy the latest relaxing of the rules but remember to look out for each other, too. Together we will beat this virus.”
Hairdresser Raymond Duthie said his two Edinburgh salons are already booked up for the next five weeks.
"We've been lucky to survive on grants and tightening my own belt, while the furlough scheme has been excellent for staff, but I've missed working -- it's a way of life. Christmas Eve was our last appointment, so we are delighted to be going back,” he said.
"We've made a lot of phone calls since the First Minister announced the date for reopening - of course everybody wants a haircut on the first day because they've been waiting for so long.
"From clients who were already booked in when we closed to new bookings through our website, we're now full into the fifth week, and we've still got emails to attend to.
"I'm sure there will be a number of awkward fringes to repair."
Monday’s changes are part of a planned gradual return to normal in Scotland.
The next stage is the return of all school pupils full time after the Easter holidays.
From April 26 it is expected that all of mainland Scotland will be placed into level three restrictions.
This will allow remaining shops to open, as well as close contact activity such as nail salons.
Indoor gyms and swimming pools will also be allowed to reopen, as well as pubs, bars, cafes and restaurants under certain conditions.
Groups of up to four people from two households will be allowed to eat and drink indoors up to 8pm, with no alcoholic drinks allowed.
Outdoors, groups of up to six from three households will be allowed to be served until 10pm, including with alcoholic drinks.
The ‘Stay Local’ order will be lifted, with people permitted to move freely around mainland Scotland.
Non-essential journeys to the rest of the UK and the common travel area are also expected to resume from this date or shortly after.