Scotland to be freed from face masks for the first time in almost two years

While face mask rules south of the border have varied since the start of the pandemic, they have remained in place constantly in Scotland since they were first introduced.

A mask mandate on public transport in Scotland was first brought in in June 2020 and was extended to shops the following month.

The rules were later tightened further to include settings such as pubs, restaurants, cinemas and places of worship.

Masks in crowded settings still ‘strongly recommended’

In her update to Holyrood on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon said there would be no delay to her plan this time.

“In recent weeks we have seen steady progress as we move back to a greater sense of normality and a more sustainable way of managing this virus,” Ms Sturgeon said.

“However our NHS is still under pressure and the most vulnerable members of our society can still benefit from additional measures to protect them from the virus,” she added.

“That is why although the use of face coverings will become guidance rather than a legal requirement I strongly recommend members of the public continue wearing face coverings in indoor settings where possible, and particularly when significant numbers of people are present.”

The number of daily reported Covid cases in Scotland hit about 12,000 in March but the figure is now about 5,000.

SNP ‘far too slow’ to trust public

Sue Webber, the public health spokeswoman for the Scottish Tories, described the mask move as “welcome” but said it should have happened several weeks ago.

“The SNP Government have been far too slow to trust the public to use their judgement on wearing facemasks, having twice U-turned on lifting the blanket curb before,” she said.

“This was frustrating for many people and damaging for businesses.

“I’m pleased to hear that the ending of the mandatory restriction on Monday extends to communal school areas too because the First Minister and her spokesperson had left parents, pupils, teachers and councils confused because of their contradictory messaging.

“Scotland’s school kids have suffered horrendously over the last two years and they – like the rest of the country – need some kind of normality restored to their lives, as we all learn to live with the virus.”

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