Scotland: Hairdressers and non-essential shops reopen as Covid restrictions ease

Some hairdressers and barbers in Scotland welcomed customers at 6am. Credit: PA

Millions of Scots are finally able to get their haircut after coronavirus restrictions eased in Scotland.

Hairdressers and barbers can reopen from Monday along with some non-essential shops, including garden centres and homeware stores.

Those living in England must wait another week for a similar lifting of restrictions, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson expected on Monday evening to provide updates to his roadmap out of lockdown.

In a press conference he will confirm plans to reopen large parts of England's economy, and will reveal parts of his plan for the restart of international travel.

North of the border, barber Tony Mann reopened his shop in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire at 6am on Monday to give people their first haircut in months.

Barbers and hairdressers can reopen from April 5 Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

It will be a busy day for the four barbers working, with 96 customers booked in on April 5 when the shop is open until 8pm.

When he reopened in July last year after the first lockdown, Mr Mann opened at midnight and worked for 24 hours.

He decided not to do the same this time but is excited to be welcoming back customers to Tony Mann’s Barber Shop.

Mr Mann said: “It’s been four months since the last day we cut hair so the feeling today is slight anxiety and slight worry, like ‘is everything going to go to plan’, but I’m also feeling really excited and happy because my shop is open again.

“We start at 6am and finish at 8pm. I didn’t fancy doing another 24-hour shift this time but we’re open long enough. Last time we did 24 hours but what I’ve come to realise is doing shifts like that is not good for you.”

He said customers have been delighted to be able to book haircuts again.

Mr Mann said: “It’s mental health, getting a haircut and making yourself feel good is a big part of life, and if you can’t make yourself feel good and you only get it from a small variety of places then you’re not going to be in a particularly good place.”

Barber Tony Mann’s first customer was his brother Maxx Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA

His brother Maxx Mann was one of the first people in Scotland to get a haircut on Monday and was delighted with the result.

He said: “It’s a good feeling. It’s been a long few months but it’s always worth the wait if you know you’re coming for Tony to cut your hair.

“I usually get my hair cut one every week or once every 10 days so to go months and months without isn’t ideal, I’m sure the general public probably feel the same.”

As part of the lockdown easing university and college students will return for in-person teaching, and outdoor contact sports for 12 to 17-year-olds will restart.

Click-and-collect services will also resume.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

Visits to hairdressers and barbers must be booked in advance.

Monday’s move will be followed on April 26 with a wider reopening of the economy, with beer gardens and gyms returning to trading and more people being able to meet outdoors and inside public places.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously said she hopes the country will return to normality by the summer.

Monday’s opening has been welcomed by retail groups but hospitality businesses have been more sceptical.

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association said pubs will have missed out on selling eight million pints at Easter due to the fact they remain closed.

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Health Secretary Jeane Freeman ruled out easing restrictions more quickly than outlined in the current timetable of three weeks between changes.

Questioned on BBC Scotland’s Good Morning Scotland radio programme if this would be accelerated, she said: “No, I don’t think so.

“I don’t think the numbers suggest that and of course you’ve got to remember that every time you ease in some way the current restrictions – so today – you give the virus more opportunity to not only to transmit but also to mutate.”

She said easing restrictions gives “the opportunity for more cases” so the three-week window is required to monitor case numbers.

Ms Freeman added: “What we’ve done and what opens up today I’m sure is very welcomed by very many people indeed but our progress needs to be tempered with a degree of caution and that’s of course exactly the approach that we’re taking here.”