Scotland Reopening: Coronavirus restrictions ease as thousands hit Scotland's pubs, gyms, shops and cafes

It was the day Scotland has been waiting for – one in which the nation took a huge step towards freedom with the reopening of pubs, gyms, shops, cafes and restaurants across the mainland.

On Monday (April 26), after four months of strict lockdown rules, the country moved from Level 4 to Level 3 of the Scottish Government’s five tiers of restrictions.

In scenes repeated across the country, early-morning queues of shoppers formed outside stores on Edinburgh’s Princes Street and Glasgow's Argyle Street.

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Edinburgh reopening: Watch dozens of shoppers queue along Princes Street as Prim...

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.”

Lush on Edinburgh’s Princes Street also had a small queue of people waiting outside for its doors to open on Monday.

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

A pint in a beer garden or at a table in an outdoor eating area is now allowed, after months of strict lockdown restrictions. Here are some people taking a seat at Albanach in High Street, Edinburgh. Photo: Matt Donlan

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.

“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.

Douglas Ross pictured receiving a freshly poured pint at 56 North in Edinburgh. Photo: Lisa Ferguson

It was a similar situation at leisure and fitness centres as gyms and swimming pools opened up again, with thousands keen to step up their fitness after lockdown.

Not everyone was keen to break a sweat, however.

Indeed, unless you’ve spent the day hiding under a very large rock, you will no doubt already have seen some pictures of merry revellers enjoying a tipple or two in beer gardens.

Cafes and restaurants also reopened, and people are now able to meet others for a meal or drink, with up to six people from two households allowed to socialise indoors in a public space.

Among those enjoying a cold pint on the first day of lockddown easing was Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie, who visited the Finnieston Bar in Glasgow.

He said it “felt fantastic” to be back in a beer garden.

“I think that everyone right across Scotland has been desperate to get back to a dose of normality,” he added.

“We know we have to do that carefully, cautiously and obey the rules – as most people have done really well for the last year.”

All close-contact services including beauty salons were also allowed to resume as of today, and beauty and nail salons had a busy day with people keen to get some treatments.

At the other end of the M8, Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross was seen receiving a freshly poured pint of 'The Edinburgh Larger' from The Edinburgh Brewing Company at 56 North, in the capital’s Newington area.

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