COVID-19: Pub pints, museum visits and car boot sales are back as coronavirus restrictions ease in Scotland and Wales

Restrictions are easing in Scotland and Wales today, with retail and hospitality the main sectors to benefit.

In Scotland, which moves from Level 4 to Level 3 of its five tiers of restrictions, cafes, restaurants, and beer gardens can open, along with non-essential shops, gyms, swimming pools, libraries, galleries and museums.

Hospitality will have to close at 8pm indoors, with alcohol only allowed to be served outside until 10pm, but these rules will be eased on 17 May when pubs can open indoors until 10.30pm.

People can meet for a meal or drink and up to six people from two households can socialise indoors in a public space, such as a cafe or restaurant.

Driving lessons can resume and funerals and weddings can take place with up to 50 people attending.

Adults on the shielding list can return to the workplace if they cannot work from home, while children who have been shielding can go back to school.

Travel between Scotland, England and Wales can resume and tourist accommodation can welcome visitors again.

VisitScotland is calling on Scots to support the recovery of the tourism sector by enjoying short breaks, days out and staycations in Scotland.

Malcolm Roughead, VisitScotland chief executive, said: "With the right support, tourism and events can lead the economic recovery and boost inward investment where it’s needed most, but to do that the industry needs the support of people living in Scotland in the first instance.

"Many businesses are reopening after months of no trade, and with staycations set to be popular again this year, there is a real opportunity for us all to rally round and show our support for local tourism."

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In Wales, pubs, restaurants, cafes, and other hospitality are allowed to reopen outdoors.

Organised outdoor activities can resume for up to 30 people, as well as outdoor wedding receptions and outdoor visitor attractions.

Also set to reopen are outdoor entertainment venues, theme parks, outdoor swimming pools, drive-in events, car boot sales, and outdoor visitor attractions.

Restrictions were eased on Saturday to allow six people to meet outdoors, although indoors meetings are still only allowed in very limited circumstances.

First Minister, Mark Drakeford said: "The public health situation in Wales continues to improve thanks to everything you are doing to help us control this awful virus. Cases of the virus are falling and our incredible vaccination programme continues to go from strength to strength.

"Last week, we set out our programme to further reopen the economy and relax the restrictions we have lived with for so long, as part of our careful, step-by-step approach to keeping everyone safe. This week, because of the improvements we continue to see, we can bring forward some of our plans.

"This is only possible because of the efforts everyone is making to protect themselves and their loved ones."

In Northern Ireland, the next set of restrictions to be eased are for pubs and cafes to serve people outdoors from 30 April and indoors from 24 May, when hotels can fully reopen.

In England, the next key date is 17 May when most social contact rules outdoors will be lifted and the rules of six from two households will apply indoors.

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