EAST Lothian's impending move to Level 2 coronavirus restrictions has been welcomed.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced this afternoon that the county would see its restrictions relaxed from Level 3 to Level 2 from Tuesday of next week.

And the news has been well received in East Lothian.

Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian's MP, said: "Delighted to hear that – progress being made and a respite for many sectors.

"However, people require to remain vigilant as we’ve seen how quickly the virus can escalate.

"It was becoming wearisome but the sacrifice is paying off. Let’s keep it that way.”

Meanwhile, East Lothian's MSP Iain Gray described it as "very welcome news for everyone in East Lothian".

He said: "It reflects the fact that the dedicated efforts of the council, businesses and the public over recent weeks have resulted in a downward trend in the infection rate here.

“By following the public health guidance, we have been able to prove beyond doubt that we are ready for Level 2 and the eased restrictions that involves.

"That is great news for local businesses and workers, especially those in the hospitality industry.

“However, as the First Minister also rightly highlighted today, we must not let down our guard now.

"We have to remain vigilant and continue to follow the rules and restrictions to avoid undermining the progress that has been made so far, keep protecting the vulnerable and enable us to look forward to better days ahead.”

Councillor Norman Hampshire, depute leader of East Lothian Council, stressed that a lot of work had gone on behind the scenes to reach the current situation.

He was confident that businesses were well aware of the implications if restrictions were not adhered to and was hopeful that East Lothian would remain in Level 2.

He said: "The whole situation is in our hands.

"If we adhere to the guidance then infection rates should stay low; if we ignore the guidance then infection rates will rise and move back up to a more restrictive tier."

Among the changes, the move to Level 2 will allow hospitality businesses to serve alcohol indoors with main meals up to 8pm, and beer gardens and outdoor areas to sell alcohol (without food) until 10.30pm.

Stuart Broomfield, manager of the Waterside Bistro in Haddington, said: “It’s fantastic news for us, obviously.

"There’s been a lot of hard work and effort put in over the weeks and months, and it’s nice to see, particularly for East Lothian, that the numbers are coming down and things are heading in the right direction.

“It would be nice to think we could get that down to Level 1 but we’ll have to wait and see what happens but generally, yes, very happy with Level 2 and fingers crossed things move forward in a positive way.

“All round, it’s very positive news for the area and for the county.”

Dominic Campanile, from The Old Clubhouse in Gullane, was “delighted” with the latest announcement and said: “This is the best as could be expected.”

Mr Campanile described the initial shutdown as “an absolute nightmare” but, since the business had reopened, trade had not been as bad as it could have been.

Now, following Tuesday’s announcement, he was pleased to say it was a real boost.

Mr Campanile added: “Almost since the announcement, we have had local customers on the phone booking tables.

“There is obviously an appetite to get back out.”