Pints are being served inside the pubs of Tayside and Fife once more as restrictions were eased in most of mainland Scotland.
The move to Level Two, which came into place on Monday, have also allowed bingo halls and cinemas to reopen once again.
Drinkers return to normality
Scores of thirsty punters flocked to pubs and bars across Scotland, eager to socialise indoors.
Alan Tenbruck, a patron of the Fort Hotel in Broughty Ferry, said that it was “liberating” to return to some normality.
He added: “To be honest I’m not much of a drinker anyway, but it’s good – it’s almost liberating.
“It’s strange to do the normal thing and to be allowed to go and do it.
“I missed the socialising side of things, friends and family and functions.
“Just coming out, even going for the simple type of thing like a haircut, felt enjoyable.”
Good to be back
Pub owners, such as John Black, owner of the Fort, are also happy to welcome their customers back indoors.
The businessman said: “Today is really important because it’s another start for us after a second lockdown for indoor drinking and socialising, so it’s good to see it back.
“People are just happy to be out I think, especially this time.
“I would have preferred it to come earlier to be honest but I do get it.
“We seem to be suppressing it [coronavirus] now so hopefully this will be the last time.”
Rise in demand for outdoor seating
John’s pub is one of many to have opened an outdoor seating area during the pandemic, as alcohol could only be served outdoors in Level Three of lockdown restrictions.
Dundee City Council announced on Monday that almost two dozen pubs have applied for temporary outdoor seating since March.
Mark Flynn, convener of Dundee City Council’s city development committee, said: “We are working closely with the hospitality sector in the city to do what we can to help businesses meet the public health requirements around Covid-19, while at the same time bringing customers back through the doors.
“The feedback we have had has been largely positive with the creativity, ingenuity and determination of owners and customers alike ensuring that the Scottish weather, and some physical obstructions are being overcome to get people enjoying food and drink in the city again.”
‘I’m really enjoying myself’
Some pubs without beer gardens, such as Doc Ferry’s, have been forced to go without trade since October.
The bar’s owner, David Glass, said: “This is us back to some form of normality, hopefully, and we’ll hopefully get through this one step at a time.
“We did partially do a takeaway food thing for a few weeks just to get people back to coming down to the pub.
“Everybody has been very positive in their feedback so far.
“We opened at 10am this morning for coffee and bacon rolls and there have been a few folk in from 11am for a couple of pints and a wee glass of wine with their toasties and a bit of lunch.”
Donald Wallace, a regular to the pub, added: “I came out to see some people, talk to people I haven’t talked to for a long time and I’m just glad we’re allowed back in pubs inside.
“I’m really enjoying myself.”
‘An honour’ to reopen bingo halls
Pubs are not the only venues reopening their doors as bingo halls across the city welcome customers back from their long absence.
Emma Foster, manager of Mecca Bingo in the city centre, was delighted to welcome back regulars.
“I think everyone is generally pretty euphoric today,” she said.
“It’s been an honour to reopen today and welcome in our regulars.
“During lockdown we did contact a few of our regulars every month, just for a wee blether on the phone and we had a few human interest and community outreach stories, but still it’s been lovely to see people in person.”
Audiences will also return to cinemas today, with Oscar winning films such as Nomadland and the Sound of Metal hitting the screens for the first time in the UK.