Easing of restrictions allows Glaswegians to re-forge connections - Martyn McLaughlin

To call it a party atmosphere seems indelicate, but describing it as respite doesn’t quite capture the emotion of the occasion.

With Glasgow set to savour its full day under relaxed Covid-19 restrictions, the truth lies somewhere in between.

A good deal of attention has understandably focused on the indoor reopening of pubs. In a city predisposed to good times, the relief is palpable and no doubt the revelry will continue long into next week.

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There will be some differences, of course. Covid restrictions remain in place and, consequently, some boltholes will be staggering their opening hours as a temporary measure as they get back on their feet.

The Scotia, a grand old howff whose past patrons include the likes of Billy Connolly and Jimmy Reid, will only be opening from 3pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and calling last orders throughout the week at 10:30pm.

Even for those with wetter appetites than most, the fact it is reopening is a relief.

Such places are more than watering holes, they are communities – places where stories and songs flow freely.

Many Glaswegians, of course, will have other reasons to toast.

Glaswegians enjoy a pint under Covid-19 restrictions. Picture: John Devlin

The city’s cultural scene will experience a jolt of life again, as cinemas, theatres and music venues reopen their doors.

Perhaps the greatest pleasure, however, will be derived from being able to meet up with loved ones inside homes.

It is impossible to overstate how difficult the past nine months have been for so many, particularly those who live alone. The sound of whistling kettles and laughter from tenement windows will be a welcome soundtrack.

It will be a weekend to remember. Equally, many know the freedom that has been hard won is not guaranteed to be indefinite.

Pockets of the city, such as Anderston and Pollokshields West, are still recording high infection rates. In the case of the latter area, the seven day rate stands at 536 per 100,000 people.

There will no doubt be testing times to come in the future. However, having endured the strictest restrictions in the country, the present is a time to reconnect and make new memories.

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