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.
FM Nicola Sturgeon said it is “the biggest step so far” in exiting lockdown and she is receiving unprecedented praise for it.
But she warned she would “not hesitate” to close bars and restaurants again if the coronavirus starts to spike exponentially.
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. They should stick to the FACTS.
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.”
Ms Sturgeon 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.
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.
Pubs and bars and restaurants
Jackie Baillie MSP, Glencairn Lounge owner Tom Murray and Neil Bibby MSP.
The Glencairn Lounge in Bridge Street Dumbarton was busy with walk-in customers and reservations and everyone was sticking to guidelines.
Santise your hands, stick to social distancing and leave your corona virus contact number in case they need to get in touch with you.
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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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
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.
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 are able to operate but will return in line with each local council’s programme of reopening.
Councils in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen all said their priority was to open after ensuring the facilities were safe for staff and the public.
West Dunbartonshire’s library service is partially re-opening to offer residents a click and collect service to borrow books.
The Book to Borrow service starts on Monday, 20 July, and will initially operate from Alexandria, Dumbarton and Dalmuir libraries.
A maximum of five items can be requested remotely by telephone or online and once available a collection time will be arranged. Residents can then safely collect their reserved items from tables which will be located within the main entrances to the three branches.
Branches will remain closed to all other visitors and will only be open for this particular service between 10am and 4pm Monday to Friday.
All books will be quarantined for 72 hours after return by the public before they are made available to another resident, and items will no longer be transferred between branches until restrictions ease further.
Councillor Ian Dickson, Convener of Corporate Services, said: “We know how popular our library service is and we appreciate not all residents have been able to access our extensive online collection. We are keen to partially restart this service as we recognise the vital role our libraries play in the lives of our residents, especially those who are housebound or are shielding.
“With this service residents can order their selections and collect from a library in each of the main towns in West Dunbartonshire.
“At this time we are unable to offer other services from our branches but we will follow the guidance from the Scottish Government and official bodies to ensure we are in a position to reopen when it is safe to do so.”
Councillor Iain McLaren, Vice Convener of Corporate Services, said: “I’m sure this partial reopening will be welcomed by our residents who will have missed having books to read during the required closure of our branches. We are keen to bring this service back and this is the safest way to do this while protecting both residents and our employees.”
Members can request specific items to collect from the library of their choice by searching the online catalogue www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/libraries Alternatively, library staff will be happy to compile a suitable selection based on age and reading preference. Please be aware the coronavirus crisis has impacted the production and supply of new books and many of the most popular titles may still be unavailable.
When contacting the library by phone to request items, library members should provide their library card number and contact details. A face covering should also be worn when collecting items from libraries.
When collecting items, a number of measures have been put in place for the safety of customers and staff. Only one member of a household should return and collect items; items can only be collected during the allocated time slot to maintain physical distancing by avoiding queues; and to reduce contact, items will be ready for collection from the main entrance of the libraries.
There will be no access to computers or printing/photocopying facilities during this period or loans of Music CDs and DVDs.
Residents should visit www.west-dunbarton.gov.uk/libraries to view the online catalogue and access the request form. Alternatively, members can telephone the appropriate library – Alexandria 01389 608974, Dalmuir 0141 562 2425 or Dumbarton 01389 608992. Members will then receive a telephone call to confirm the date and time of collection. Members should adhere to the strict collection time to ensure physical distancing and minimize queueing during collection.
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.