Mask law to be lifted on 21 March

Man wearing mask
Face coverings have been mandatory in Scottish shops since the summer of 2020.

MANDATORY face covering rules are set to end on 21 March, the First Minister has announced.

Pending a review of medical evidence, the Scottish Government has put a date in the diary for the end of face mask rules in public indoor settings, including retail premises.

Wearing face coverings in a retail setting will still be advised by the Scottish Government after 21 March, but that guidance will no longer have the force of law.

The rules on face coverings first came into force on 10 July 2020 as part of a raft of measures aimed at slowing the spread of Covid.

Addressing the Scottish Parliament, Nicola Sturgeon said: “Assuming no significant adverse developments, we expect the legal requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor settings will be converted to guidance.

“We will continue to strongly recommend wearing of face coverings in shops and other indoor public places and on public transport.”

Dr John Lee, head of public affairs at the SGF, said: “Given that the Scottish government’s level of threat from COVID is moving towards low, we are cautiously welcoming the removal of the mandatory requirement to wear face masks.

“Convenience retailers have done a remarkable job in implementing a wide range of protective measures and have ensured that convenience stores have been safe places to shop. Removing the need to wear facemasks will take pressure off both staff and customers and renormalise the shopping experience.

“Additionally we have some evidence that during the pandemic some customers have acted as if wearing a facemask makes them immune from both identification and prosecution and this has led to incidents of abuse towards staff.”