Face masks in Scotland: Are face masks mandatory in Scotland, and rules for face masks in schools in Scotland

Here are the current rules around face masks for people in Scotland.

Monday, 18th April 2022, 9:30 am
People are no longer legally required to wear face masks on public transport and in most indoor public spaces in Scotland as the rule moved into guidance on Monday. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.
People are no longer legally required to wear face masks on public transport and in most indoor public spaces in Scotland as the rule moved into guidance on Monday. Photo: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

After a delay to the easing of the final Covid restrictions in Scotland, the planned changes to the rules around face coverings are going ahead. Here’s what you need to know.

Are face masks mandatory in Scotland?

People are no longer legally required to wear face masks on public transport and in most indoor public spaces in Scotland as the rule moved into guidance on Monday. However, although the final coronavirus restriction in law has lifted, the Scottish Government is still strongly recommending that people continue to wear face coverings where appropriate as Covid-19 continues to spread.

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Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was spotted without a mask in public the day before the rules lifted. Photo: Fraser Bremner/Daily Mail via PA.

Meanwhile, people without symptoms of the virus are no longer being asked to take regular lateral flow tests as of April 18 as part of changes to the test and protect system. Free lateral flow devices (LFDs) for twice weekly routine testing are no longer available for the general population.

The tests will continue to be free for any purpose for which testing continues to be advised - for clinical care, health and social care workers and for people visiting vulnerable individuals in care homes or hospitals.

The rule easing came the day after Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was reported to police after footage showed her apparently breaching the country's Covid face mask law while on the council election campaign trail.

A video posted on social media appeared to show her not wearing a mask during a visit to a barber's in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire, on Saturday. Police Scotland confirmed it had received a complaint and said it was being assessed.

The SNP said the First Minister was invited into the barbers during an outdoor visit on the street. A party spokesman said: "Within a few seconds, she realised she hadn't put her mask back on and immediately put it on."

Ms Sturgeon has previously said she is confident most people will continue to wear masks after the rules ease.

Speaking on Saturday, she told the PA news agency: "I'm not saying every single person will (continue to wear masks), people will make their own decisions.

"But I think, just as the vast majority of people have abided by all that we've asked of them over the last two years - not because politicians have been asking or the law necessarily has required it - because people understand that the best way to protect themselves and protect those they love is to abide by these really sensible, basic precautions against the spread of a virus."

The First Minister said Covid-19 was "still out there", adding: "Wearing a face covering is a bit of protection you can give, not only to yourself but to the people you might be around - including people who might be more clinically vulnerable."

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Face masks in schools in Scotland

In communal areas of schools ad when moving around inside school buildings, secondary school pupils will need to continue wearing face coverings when they return after the Easter break. The rules will apply to both students and staff unless exempt.

Additional reporting by PA.