Falkirk area non-essential shops and hospitality businesses preparing to reopen with restrictions easing
Falkirk district will take its single biggest step out of lockdown as restrictions are finally eased on Monday.
A sense of normality is set to return across the area, with the reopening of non-essential retailers and the long-awaited return for the hospitality sector.
Leisure centres, gyms, libraries and museums are also opening their doors once more, while weddings and funeral services will be able to accommodate up to 50 guests.
Falkirk Community Trust’s four major sports centres – The Mariner Centre, Stenhousemuir Gym, Bo’ness Recreation Centre and Grangemouth Sports Complex – as well as Carron Gymnastics Centre are back in business as of Monday.
The facilities’ swimming pools and gyms will open, as will venues for adult non-contact, non-group sport.
Indoor fitness classes and outdoor adult contact sports activities are due to restart on May 17.
Pre-booking is essential for all activities, with online and telephone bookings available from Friday.
Shops can also welcome back customers from Monday.
The Howgate Shopping Centre in Falkirk will open from 9am-5.30pm, Monday to Saturday and 11am-5pm on Sundays.
Its car park and doors will open one hour before and close one hour after these times.
Some stores may operate reduced hours. Members of the public are asked to visit www.howgateshoppingcentre.co.uk for more details.
The Helix and Kelpies can also welcome back visitors as of next week.
An FCT spokesperson said: “We have reopened the Plaza Café at The Helix, home of The Kelpies, for takeaway from 10am to 4pm with the toilets open from 9am to 8pm.
“As of Monday, April 26, the visitor centre will reopen including toilets, gift shop and the cafe with a limited menu for takeaway, information on sit-in service will be released soon.”
Callendar House and Tearoom in Falkirk will reopen on Wednesday, April 28. The house will be fully open so visitors can explore the museum displays and exhibition galleries.
Kinneil Museum in Bo’ness is also set to return to business on Wednesday. The opening hours will remain the same: 12.30pm-4pm, Wednesday to Monday.
The changes come as Scotland moves from Level 4 to Level 3, however, some restrictions will still apply as the Scottish Government underlines its safety message.
Hospitality will have to close at 8pm indoors and 10pm outdoors – and venues can only serve alcohol outside.
Up to six people from a maximum of two households will be able to meet indoors at pubs, restaurants and cafes.
A maximum of six people from six different households can gather in outdoor eating and drinking areas.
Rules will also be enforced to ensure contact details for all customers will be taken to bolster contact tracing.
Many hospitality venues have been taking bookings for tables but some ‘wet’ pubs, which don’t sell food, are facing a further delay in reopening, with May 17 most likely to be their first day back in business.
Non-essential informal childcare, repair work in people’s homes – including cleaning, painting and decorating – also start up again from Monday, along with driving lessons and driving tests.