HOSPITALITY venues across the Borders reopened last week after Scotland was moved down to Level 3 of coronavirus restrictions.

Since last Monday (April 26), pubs, restaurants and cafés have been allowed to serve alcohol in outdoor settings, while food and non-alcoholic drinks are permitted inside.

In outdoor settings, six people from six households can meet with a closing time of 10pm, while six people from two households are able to meet at indoor venues which have to close at 8pm.

Rob Chisholm, manager of the Ship Inn in Melrose, said: “It’s been brilliant welcoming back all our friendly faces. We’re a big part of the community here in Melrose.

“It can really help people’s mental health. For some of the older residents we might be [the only] people they see in a day.

“It’s been phenomenal, you know, to get that face to face connection for that social element. We’ve been so fortunate, we’ve got a booking system and the response has been phenomenal.

“It’s trying to accommodate everyone which can be the tricky part but we’ve been overwhelmed with the response.”

READ MORE: Dog broke its leg during walk on popular route in the Borders, meeting hears

Andrew Hittle, owner of the Neidpath Inn in Peebles, said he was “definitely happy to be able to reopen the doors” but the weather put a dampener on the occasion for some.

“There was a very good turnout other than Tuesday (April 27) when the weather was quite bad,” he said. “The majority were excited to be back, a small amount of people were a touch upset about being outside.”

Mr Hittle said the Neidpath has “improvised quite well” in the beer garden with table heaters, fire pits and a TV in the window among the features available.

READ MORE: Borders nightclub boss on venue's future after plans suggest flats to be created

April 26 also saw the reopening of tourism accommodation, coinciding with the relaxation of travel rules so people can now go anywhere across Scotland, England and Wales.

James Henderson, manager of the Townhouse Hotel in Melrose, said: “It is great to get back open again. It has been a pretty steady week and we now have residents back into the hotel. We have had a mixture of people visit – local people and people from south of the border, which is great.

“We are very lucky we have indoor and outdoor facilities; however, it would be nice if it was a bit warmer.

“It could get a bit tricky, though, as there is rain forecast this week.”

READ MORE: The ambitious Borders residents who want to buy their local village green

Steve Davies, owner of the Caddon View guest house in Innerleithen, said: “It has been very busy so far in our café.

“It has been slow and steady in terms of accommodation, but we will be very busy again by the end of the month.

“We have had people come down from Edinburgh and visitors from England, but, unsurprisingly, no-one from overseas.

“Hopefully we can make something of this summer. The last year has been appalling and I worry another lockdown could be the final nail in the coffin for many businesses.”

READ MORE: Record-breaking Borders runner says eating stock cubes was key to success

According to Scotland’s route map out of lockdown, the next raft of changes are set to come in on May 17.

From this date, it is hoped council areas will be able to move to Level 2.

According to the Scottish Government website, in Level 2 hospitality venues can open until 10.30pm for the sale of food and alcohol indoors.

Up to eight people from eight households can meet in a beer garden, while six adults from three households can go indoors together, the government’s website says.

Clarification: The print version of this article, which appeared in the Border Telegraph on May 5, incorrectly stated that Rob Chisholm is the owner of the Ship Inn. In fact, Mr Chisholm is the manager of the pub. We are happy to clarify this fact and we apologise for our error.