WEDNESDAY marks a big shift in the easing of lockdown as a number of Shetland cafes, restaurants, pubs, hotels and hairdressers reopen to the public.
Pints will be poured in some pubs for the first time since March, food will be served up for sit-in diners and some lockdown hairstyles will get a much-needed trim.
Some pubs and cafes have been offering takeaways and outdoor service in recent weeks, but the hospitality sector will be able to open to the public indoors providing there are social distancing and hygiene measures in place.
It comes as the tourist industry also effectively restarts in Scotland, with accommodation able to be reopened from tomorrow too.
Owner of the Shetland, Lerwick and Kvelsdro hotels Robert Smith said his company is taking things “one step at a time”.
The Shetland Hotel has been open for essential workers during lockdown, but from tomorrow bookings can be made by anyone.
However, for the next week or two it will only be open to residents.
Food and drink, though, will be available in the Lerwick Hotel from today.
Smith said the staff coming back from furlough at the Lerwick Hotel are “all very keen to get back to serving our customers”.
He added that the business has measures in place for the ‘new normal’.
“We will review it daily to start with to make sure our customers feel safe and comfortable – above all else however, relaxed and enjoying time dining and socialising,’” Smith said.
Living Lerwick manager Emma Miller said the reopening of hospitality businesses and hairdressers is the biggest change so far when it comes to reopening for public social interaction.
“In terms of hairdressers and barbers, I think they are looking forward to opening and getting back to work almost as much as their clients are looking forward to seeing them – I know I am counting the days until my appointment,” she said.
“Being able to go for a meal or a pint also seems like another step towards normal life, which is great.
“We do need to remain vigilant and be aware that things will be different and staff in hospitality venues will be doing their best to keep the environment safe and hygienic for us.
“We may need to wait while tables are cleaned or contact details are taken, but it’s a small concession to make for the benefit of the experience we’ve missed.”
Non-essential shops in the Toll Clock shopping centre, meanwhile, will also reopen for businesses.
The centre, which is now under new management, has had renovation work and deep cleaning undertaken ahead of the full reopening.
The Shetland Museum and Archives will also reopen on Thursday with social distancing measures in place.
Libraries will be able to reopen from tomorrow but Shetland Library said it is busy “rejigging” its buildings first.
It said it hopes to have limited opening hours before the end of July.
Cinemas in Scotland are also set to reopen but as part of a phased approach Shetland Arts is only allowing folk back into Mareel at the end of August.
Places of worship will be able to re-open from Wednesday for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation with physical distancing and limited numbers.
All childcare providers will be allowed to open subject to individual provider arrangements.
There will also be an easing of restrictions on attendance at funerals, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations with physical distancing.
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