Hairdressers and barbers can reopen in Scotland for the first time in three month from today – though people England will have to wait another week for a fresh trim.
Some non-essential shops can also reopen as Scotland continues its roadmap out of lockdown, including garden centres, homeware stores and click-and-collect services.
University and college students will also return for in-person teaching and outdoor contact sports for 12 to 17-year-olds will restart.
Visits to hairdressers and barbers must be pre-booked in advance and customers flocked to get their long-awaited cuts as early as 6am across the country.
The easing of restrictions is in contrast to England where hairdressers will not be able to open until April 12.
However, England will also allow beer gardens and gyms to return to trading on April 12 – with Scotland not set to follow suit until two weeks later.
On Sunday, Scotland recorded 343 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths of Covid-19 patients.
A total of 2,553,837 people have received the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 451,057 have received their second dose.
Tony Mann opened his barber shop in Giffnock, East Renfrewshire, at 6am to enable people to get their hair cut for the first time in months.
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.
Scots flocked to barbers and hairdressers from 6am today as lockdown restrictions were eased
Barber Tony Mann trims Max Mann’s hair at Tony Mann’s Barber Shop in Giffnock near Glasgow as barbers reopen across Scotland
Barber Maggie McGillivray trims Sam Rosenblom’s hair at Tony Mann’s Barber Shop in Giffnock near Glasgow
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.’
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.’
Richard Lambert, the chief executive of the National Hair and Beauty Foundation, said: ‘Obviously we’re delighted that hair salons and barbershops can reopen on April 5, but we cannot understand why those offering beauty services have to wait until Apri 26.
Visits to hairdressers and barbers must be pre-booked in advance and customers flocked to get their long-awaited cuts as early as 6am across the country
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously said she hopes the country will return to normality by the summer
‘The Scottish Government has offered no scientific or medical evidence to support a staggered decision.
‘Scottish hair and beauty businesses were hit harder than those in any other part of the UK, losing more than half of their turnover in 2020, yet still having to pay to keep their premises ready to return to.
‘Even with all the financial support, the situation for many is now beyond precarious. They have already been closed for such a long time that they may not survive to reopen.’
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon previously said she hopes the country will return to normality by the summer.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney warned however: ‘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.
‘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.
‘My message is simple – enjoy the latest relaxing of the rules but remember to look out for each other, too.’
The stay at home order was lifted on Friday and replaced with guidance to ‘stay local’, which urges people to remain within their local authority area.
On a visit to a garden centre in Perthshire, 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.’
Monday’s opening has been welcomed by retail groups but hospitality businesses have been more sceptical.
The Scottish Beer & Pub Association said that pubs will have missed out on selling eight million pints at Easter due to the fact they are still required to remain closed.