Friends Making Toast With Alcohol In Garden At Home Enjoying Summer Garden Party

The first major steps in easing lockdown in Scotland and Wales take place today, with the public allowed to return to hospitality and retail settings.

Pubs, restaurants and cafes are now allowed to open their outdoor spaces in Wales, while Scotland will allow customers indoors from Wednesday. Wales' First Minister Mark Drakeford said businesses could welcome back customers indoors from 3 August, if cases continue their downward trend.

Today will also see non-essential retailers based in shopping centres allowed to reopen in Scotland for the first time in months.

Although it is a step in the right direction for smaller, local businesses, today will bring no change for many. With turnover expected to be at just 25% for pubs, restaurants and cafes in Wales while the outdoor restrictions is in place, less than half of independent businesses are expected to re-open today.

Major chains Wetherspoons and Brains said they won't open any of their pubs until visitors can come indoors.

Speaking to the BBC, Swansea-based brewer, Gower Brewery was skeptical of the outdoor return in Wales. It said: "A lot have no beer gardens, or you have to go through the pub to get to them.

"More on the coast and seaside resorts will, but because people are sat outside, a lot will depend on the weather."

Speaking about the re-opening of shopping centres, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon stressed that the latest measures can and will be revoked at any time if there is a spike in cases.

She said: "The fundamental, primary responsibility to keep the virus low in Scotland is on the shoulders of all of us to do the right things.

"That means face coverings, avoiding crowded places, cleaning our hands and keeping two-metres distancing, following the advice to self-isolate and get tested if we have symptoms."