Scottish government makes face masks mandatory in shops
The Scottish government will enforce the wearing of face coverings in all shops.
The first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has called for the public to wear face coverings when they are visiting shops, as the nation begins to ease lockdown measures.
The social distancing rule of keeping apart two metres will be eased for some premises during the next phase on 10 July, but from this date onwards, face coverings will be compulsory.
The news comes as non-essential shops have reopened in Scotland, with bars and restaurants due to open up in the next few weeks.
Face coverings, which are already mandatory on public transport in Scotland, are thought to “help reduce the risk of transmission indoors” and “provide an additional layer of protection”, said Sturgeon.
“We have proceeded for a period with a voluntary approach to this. Some people are complying and some are not, I’m not pointing fingers or trying to blame people for that but we have to make a judgment if we’re heading into a period where more people are interacting,” she added.
Instead of medical masks used by health and care workers, Sturgeon stressed the importance of making use of cloth masks made from garments found at home, such as scarves and T-shirts. Finder has published a guide on how to make your own mask.
The new rule applies only in Scotland; as Northern Ireland and Wales can set their own guidance on whether and when the public should wear face coverings.
Face coverings were made compulsory in England on public transport from 15 June, where travellers can be refused access if they do not comply. Face coverings have not yet been made mandatory in shops.
In Northern Ireland and Wales, face mask use is not yet enforced, but government officials have strongly advised people to cover their faces where the two-metre rule cannot be maintained.
In all cases, the public have been warned that for face coverings to be effective, people must wash their hands before putting them on and taking them off and continue to social distance.
The coronavirus advice guidance from Public Health England remains largely the same.
The guidelines are:
- Limit contact with other people and stay alert
- Keep your distance and if you go out, keep one metre plus away from others
- Wash your hands regularly
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms