// Hairdressers & some non-essential shops in Scotland, such as garden centres & homeware stores, can open from April 5
// Most non-essential retailers to remain closed until April 26, the original date previously set for reopening
// Businesses will also receive a “restart grant” from the Scottish Government as restrictions ease
Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a wide-ranging relaxation of Covid rules in April, with some non-essential retailers now being able to open as early as April 5.
Speaking in Scottish Parliament today, Sturgeon confirmed that hairdressers and some additional non-essential shops such as garden centres and homeware stores, plus non-essential click-and-collect services, can start to reopen open from April 5.
However, most non-essential retailers will remain closed until April 26, the original date that been previously set for reopening.
- Scotland to ease lockdown for non-essential retailers from April 26
- Calls for “indicative dates” for Northern Ireland lockdown exit
- Wales to “gradually” lift lockdown on non-essential retailers from March 22
Other high street premises, such as gyms, museums, libraries, beer gardens, cafes, restaurants and bars will also be able to reopen on April 26.
Sturgeon said cafés, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors – in groups of up to six from three households – until 10pm and alcohol will be permitted, without the requirement for food to be served.
There will also be indoor opening of hospitality from April 26, limited initially to food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm.
Meanwhile, Scotland’s stay-at-home order will be lifted on April 2, with travel restrictions removed entirely from April 26, Sturgeon said.
This means that from April 26, current rules banning people from leaving their council areas will be removed, with plans to allow journeys to other parts of the UK on the same date.
Sturgeon’s updated plans included tentatively moving Scotland into Level 1 of Covid restrictions – the second-lowest of the five tiers – from early June.
By the end of June, she said all of Scotland will move to Level 0.
Businesses in Scotland will also receive a “restart grant” from the Scottish Government as restrictions ease, Sturgeon said.
The First Minister told MSPs that those in receipt of the Strategic Business Framework Fund would receive a final payment on March 22.
“Then on April 19, recipients will receive a combined final payment comprising a further two weeks closure support and a one-off restart grant,” she said.
“For eligible retail businesses this will mean a payment on April 19 of up to £7500 and for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses a payment of up to £19,500.
“This will provide support that is both more generous and also more flexible than previously envisaged.”
The news comes as Northern Ireland ministers faces pressure to provide indicative dates on its lockdown exit plan, after Stormont recently said its roadmap would be driven by data rather than dates.
Over in England, the lockdown exit date for non-essential has been set for no earlier than April 12.
In Wales, non-essential retail can gradually reopen from March 22, although most will remain shut and will reopen on April 12 – the same as England.
with PA Wires