Beer gardens and outdoor pub and café spaces are opening up from today but with a warning from the First Minister to follow the new rules.

Nicola Sturgeon said it will not be like before and should not feel like before if you visit a beer garden.

Ms Sturgeon said if you can’t follow the rules or put up with the changes then do not go.

The First Minister visited a pub in Edinburgh ahead of the opening to see the changes it has made to keep customers and staff safe.

She said: “No beer garden or café should feel the same as it did before.

“The vast majority of the hospitality industry will be following the rules and putting in place new procedures to help control the virus. People should look for those safety measures

“If you don’t see those safety measures, or you don’t feel you can follow appropriate hygiene rules, then don’t take the risk.”

The opening of outdoor spaces is part of phase two of the exiting lockdown plan in Scotland.

Pubs were able to open in England from Saturday, but the changes are taking place at a different pace in Scotland.

It will be July 15 before any indoor hospitality business is able to open, with physical distancing measures in place.

From today customers sitting in during a trip to a beer garden will be required to give their name and contact details to allow them to be traced if they are in contact with someone who gets the virus.

The First Minister added: “The sacrifices made by the public have suppressed this virus, protected our health service and ultimately saved lives and I know those sacrifices have not always been easy.

“I hope that as we take these first gradual steps out of lockdown people will begin to feel more of the sense of normality that we have worked so hard for - although it is important to remember that the virus has not gone away so we cannot get complacent.

“If we continue to stick to the rules we will be able to drive the virus down further and live less restricted lives in the weeks and months ahead. Until then support local businesses if you can, socialise safely and make sure that while you enjoy yourself you also protect others.”

Pub bosses urged customers to stick to the rules and understand the need for the changes.

Stephen Montgomery, President of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, added: “The SLTA welcomes the reopening of our sector today, with the first phase, our beer gardens.

“We understand that there will be changes in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 which we are sure customers will understand.

“We would encourage customers to keep to physical distancing measures and work with premises to ensure public health is maintained, including providing staff with contact details to support Test and Protect.”

Meanwhile regulations on planning are being temporarily relaxed to support the hospitality industry to safely restart.

Areas like pavements may be used for seating, and could also include structures such as open-sided gazebos.

Kevin Stewart, Planning Minister said: “Local authorities are responsible for planning and we are already encouraging them to facilitate the use of open outdoor spaces which pubs and restaurants can use.

“We have also issued guidance to local licensing boards about how to sensitively and pragmatically deal with requests to use outdoor space for the sale of alcohol.”