Covid lockdown in Scotland: The return of indoor beer, hugs and choral singing means a lot – Scotsman comment

A pint enjoyed inside the shelter of a pub, choirs singing together for the first time in more than a year, and loved ones able to give and receive a hug – yesterday saw another huge step along the long road back to normality.

The National Youth Choir of Scotland, with founder and conductor Christopher Bell, meet on Edinburgh's Calton Hill to sing together for the first time since March 2020 (Picture: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

We are still some distance away from the happy day when we can truly say the Covid crisis is behind us, but the return of simple pleasures for most of Scotland was most eagerly welcomed.

Members of the National Youth Choir of Scotland were among the first to celebrate the further easing of lockdown as 29 singers gathered on Edinburgh’s Calton Hill at 6am to serenade this new dawn in song.

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One chorister, Mollie Quigley, remarked: “On Zoom it doesn't feel like you're singing together, it feels isolated. This morning has been wonderful hearing everyone together again.”

For all the increased ability to communicate that the internet has brought, it cannot truly replace the feeling of being in good company. Life is simply better in the real world than in its virtual imposters.

While Glasgow and Moray have been left behind because of surges in infection rates there, vaccination drives in both places should hopefully bring the virus under control soon to allow people there the same freedoms as the rest of the country.

Echoing remarks made by Boris Johnson, Deputy First Minister John Swinney urged people to “tread carefully and cautiously and warily as we relax these restrictions”, but also stressed there were “grounds for a lot of optimism”.

And that was the message of the day. It may be just a sample of normality, but we’ll gladly take it.

Customers have a drink inside the Scotsman's Lounge in Edinburgh yesterday (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)

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