Pubs and non-essential shops reopened across the Borders today

The sun failed to put its hat on as pubs across the Borders reopened for the first time in months today, Monday, April 26.

Reivers sportsbar in Galashiels.
Reivers sportsbar in Galashiels.

Watering holes were able to reopen their doors for the first time since Boxing Day as the latest stage in lockdown relaxation came into force with the hospitality sector returning alongside non-essential shops.

Arnie Turnbull, landlord at both the Reivers sportsbar in Galashiels High Street and The Woodcutter at Langlee, was eager to get his venues back open – and delighted at the response from regulars.

Despite overcast weather, the atmosphere was upbeat as customers enjoyed their first pints since Christmas.

He said: "We have an enclosed beer garden on the side of the pub. We opened at noon and the last orders are at 9.30pm. It was busy, just about fully booked. We’re allowing walk-ins but we have been taking bookings and if you don’t have a booking there is a chance you won’t get in but if someone is walking past and decides they fancy a drink we’ll try to accommodate them.

"We hold 72 with 12 tables of six. I’ve put an outdoor drinking area at my other pub, The Woodcutter. I’ve been driving between the two pubs to make sure everything is going okay.

"Both pubs have been closed since Boxing Day and it’s really good to be open again.

"It would obviously have been better at the weekend when the weather was lovely, but we’re in Scotland and at least it didn’t rain and we’re mostly covered over.”

Abdou Lataoui , owner and manager of the Spread Eagle Hotel in Jedburgh High Street for almost six years, was preparing to reopen at 4pm today, with an equal mixture of excitement and trepidation.

He said: “Yesterday was glorious weather – and look at today! But at least we have heaters to keep them cosy.

"Its going to operate on a first come/first served basis and we don’t have a booking system in operation. We have a capacity for 24 and once it’s full that’s it.

"I’m excited and apprehensive at the same time, dependent on the behaviour of the youths. Are they going to be civil and nice and stay seated or wandering around? That can be worrying.”

The venue will operate from 4pm to 10pm going forward.