The First Minister in Scotland extends compulsory Face Coverings
This has been taken from her statement today
I said two weeks ago that we would review this requirement before the Easter recess, which we have now done.
We have taken account of the very high level of infection and the pressure on the NHS, and also the fact that face coverings do provide an important layer of protection against transmission of the virus from one person to another.
However, we are also mindful that the data may now be indicating a peaking of this wave of infection which should hopefully become more pronounced over the next couple of weeks.
We have therefore concluded – subject as always to the state of the pandemic – that the legal requirement to wear face coverings will be replaced with guidance on the following phased basis.
From next Monday 4 April, it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering in places of worship or while attending a marriage ceremony, a civil partnership registration, or a funeral service or commemorative event.
And then the wider legal requirement – applying to shops, certain other indoor settings and public transport – will be converted to guidance two weeks later on 18 April.
We will, of course, continue to encourage the wearing of face coverings in certain indoor places, especially where significant numbers of people are present.
This phased approach strikes I think a sensible balance between our desire to remove this one remaining legal measure, and the common sense need for continued caution – not least for the sake of the NHS – while this wave of infection does subside.
I recognise that face coverings are an inconvenience. However, given all the sacrifice of the past two years, and in view of the current pressure on the NHS, I believe the vast majority of people will accept that for a further two weeks this is a proportionate precautionary measure while we pass the peak of this latest wave. It also of course provides some additional protection to those who are most at risk from the virus.