A JEWELLER, a phone shop and a store selling bathroom tiles are among the businesses which reopened in Galashiels today (June 29) as lockdown eases further.

Non-essential shops have been given permission to reopen now that Scotland is in phase two of Nicola Sturgeon’s ‘route map’.

Tile Style owner Michelle Donaghy removed the ‘closed’ sign from her Bank Street premises at 8am, ready to greet customers again after three months.

“I’m very excited - ecstatic,” she told the Border Telegraph, adding: “I’ve had half a dozen people through the door in two hours.”

Further along the street, jeweller Billy Mulroy reopened at 9am. “It’s good to be back to work,” he said, “but we’ll see how business is - we’ll need to see how many people come in.”

Joy Parker, 54, was among the shoppers who picked up a purchase in the town this morning.

“I’m glad shops are open, but I think we still need to be a bit careful,” said the visor-wearing artist, fresh from buying grout in Tile Style.

Similar comments were made by Galashiels resident Graham Carbert after he browsed Bank Street clothes shop Inis. “I’m happy as long as it’s all done properly,” he said.

Some of the town’s oldest businesses made a triumphant return today, too.

Inside his iconic Channel Street shoe shop, Atholl Symington said there had been a “steady flow” of customers.

Macari’s Café boss Philip Macari said takeaways have now resumed at his High Street site (although takeaways were already permitted by the Scottish Government).

And John Mill & Son is back selling wallpaper and paint on Channel Street, with owner David Mill reporting that the shop has been busy.

“It’s just good to get back into a routine again,” said Mr Mill, whose great-grandfather established the business.

But trading during the coronavirus pandemic also feels a bit “strange”, according to Mr Mill, who said he and his partner Catherine Patterson are in the “vulnerable” category.

“We feel a bit anxious,” said Mr Mill. “And we don’t know if people are going to wear masks.”

Further north on Channel Street, the 02 phone shop says only one customer is allowed inside at a time.

Store manager Detlev, who did not wish to give his surname, said customers have also been banned from touching devices.

All of the stores in Galashiels visited by the Border Telegraph contained hand sanitiser pumps. 

They also had markings on the floor to remind shoppers to keep two metres apart.

See this week’s physical edition of the Border Telegraph for more coverage.