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What rules have changed today? Hairdressers, garden centres and non-essential retailers reopen

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Hairdressers, barbershops, car showrooms and garden centres have reopened today as the latest relaxation of restrictions in Scotland has taken place.

Last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said progress in suppressing the virus allowed the Scottish Government to go ahead with the indicative dates for relaxing some restrictions.

But, what has changed today?

Crucially for some desperate for a trim, hairdressers and barbershops have been permitted to reopen.

Appointments are required for those seeking haircuts to avoid groups gathering.

They are not the only part of the economy to reopen, however.

Click and collect at those retailers deemed as non-essential has returned today as well, with appointments also required.

Car showrooms and forecourts have reopened, as have homeware and garden centres.

However, people have been urged to consider if their visit is essential on the first day back or if they could perhaps wait a few days or weeks.

Further changes that affect youngsters have also come into force.

College students, particularly those studying construction, engineering, hairdressing and beauty, will return to on-campus learning from today, with contact sports also permitted for those aged between 12 and 17.

Contact sports have returned for those aged between 12 and 17

‘Together we will beat this virus’

Deputy First Minister John Swinney has urged Scots to stick with restrictions to avoid a backwards step of further restrictions being required.

On a visit to a garden centre in Perthshire on Sunday, Mr Swinney said it is important to remember the virus is still circulating.

He added: “It’s absolutely wonderful to be out and about again.

“After the long winter months of being cooped up inside, I know everyone will be keen to get back to our more normal lives.

“We are seeing real progress in our fight against this dreadful pandemic.

“The hard sacrifices of the country – coupled with the fantastic effort of the vaccine programme getting jabs into arms of millions of Scots – is really paying dividends.

“While it’s great news that garden centres and hairdressers are allowed to reopen, everyone needs to bear in mind that it doesn’t mean the virus has gone away.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney visited Glendoick Garden Centre on Sunday.

He added: “The virus is down but it’s not yet out, and the last thing we need is to see it making a comeback and undoing all the progress from the massive effort and sacrifices we have all had to make.

“But being here today demonstrates that we are making very welcome steps back towards the normal life we all so dearly wish for.

“My message is simple – enjoy the latest relaxing of the rules but remember to look out for each other, too.

“Together we will beat this virus.”

‘No grounds for complacency’

Despite relaxing some freedoms, Ms Sturgeon said at her update last week that there is “still no grounds for complacency”.

She added: “It is really important right now while the vaccination programme continues to be rolled out that all of us remain hyper-vigilant in how we’re going about our daily lives”.

Nicola Sturgeon.

The next review in two weeks time will determine if further relaxation of restrictions can go ahead on April 26.

From April 26, it is hoped that mainland Scotland can move from Level 4 to Level 3.

Changes to the numbers in which people can gather are expected to change at this date, with indoor and outdoor hospitality allowed to reopen.

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