Shopping centres reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased

Scotland will see “the most significant easing of lockdown” this week with shopping centres, pubs and restaurants reopening, the first minister has said.

From Monday, non-essential shops inside shopping malls will be able to return to business.

Children and young people will also be allowed to play organised outdoor contact sports.

Further restrictions on the indoor hospitality sector will be lifted from Wednesday.

Family and friends will be able to visit hospital patients from Monday.

Patients can have a designated visitor, although they will have to follow strict public health guidance and arrange a time to visit in advance.

Dentists will be able to offer some routine treatments, such as examinations, hand scaling and extractions.

But they will not be able to carry out aerosol procedures – those which produce a fine mist, like the use of a high-speed drill.

That will rule out most fillings, crown preparations and treatments involving a water spray.

Image copyright
Jeff Holmes

Image caption

Perspex screens have been fitted to protect staff at the intu Braehead shopping centre in Glasgow

Nicola Sturgeon said continued success in suppressing coronavirus allowed the relaxation of lockdown restrictions.

But she has warned they could be revoked at any time if there is a spike in Covid-19 cases.

The first minister said: “The fundamental, primary responsibility to keep the virus low in Scotland is on the shoulders of all of us to do the right things.

“That means face coverings, avoiding crowded places, cleaning our hands and keeping two-metres distancing, following the advice to self-isolate and get tested if we have symptoms.”

Restricting access to people in hospital had been necessary “to keep patients and staff as safe as possible”, Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said.

Image caption

People waiting outside a clothes shop in the Union Square centre in Aberdeen

She also said the measures had “helped us protect the capacity and resilience of NHS Scotland”.

Ms Freeman added: “I want to thank everyone who has followed this guidance as I know how hard it has been for patients, families and carers not to have seen their loved ones in hospital.

“There is a need to balance the risk of physical and psychological harm that the absence of visitors can cause, with the gradual reduction of Covid-19.

“The safety of patients, staff and visitors will continue to be our priority.”

Seating plans

From Wednesday, hairdressers and barbers will be able to reopen – with enhanced hygiene measures.

Indoor pubs, cafes and restaurants can also return to business.

They can seek an exemption from the two-metre distancing rule, but will have to warn customers that they are entering a 1m zone, produce revised seating plans, and improve ventilation.

Guidance on physical distancing will have to be followed, and customers will have to provide their contact details.

All holiday accommodation can also reopen from 15 July, as can museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments and libraries.