Edinburgh residents have mixed opinions over face mask restrictions being lifted in Scotland

Edinburgh residents have voiced mixed opinions about the lifting of the mandatory requirement to wear face masks in public, which has been in place for almost two years.

By Annabelle Gauntlett
Monday, 18th April 2022, 7:24 pm

Let us know what you think and join the conversation at the bottom of this article.

While the requirement to wear a face mask in England was scrapped on January 27, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon kept the regulations until Easter had passed.

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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

It is no longer mandatory for Scots to wear face masks.

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.

Speaking to the Evening News, some Edinburgh residents said they would continue to wear their masks.

One shop assistant said: “I will continue to wear my mask because I feel safer and more comfortable knowing that my health isn’t at greater risk.”

The elderly also said they felt more vulnerable with the regulation being lifted. Brenda, 86, who lives alone, said: “I wear my mask everywhere. I think it is absolutely necessary and wrong that the restrictions have been lifted whilst cases are still rising.”

But students and younger people have taken an opposite view, with many having said they look forward to things getting back to normal after more than two years of lockdowns and restrictions.

One student said: “I think it is amazing, it gives me a sense of freedom, for instance, going to lectures without a mask means that people can express verbal communication, I think it is great.”

Another woman said: “It is just nice to get back to some sense of normality.”

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.

However 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.

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."

A weekly Covid-19 survey produced by the Office for National Statistics found that around one in every 17 people in Scotland had Covid-19 in the week up to April 9, a drop on recent weeks.

Until the end of April, people with symptoms should still isolate and get a PCR test.

From April 30, test sites will close and people with symptoms will no longer be advised that they need to seek a test.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this article. We're more reliant on your support than ever as the shift in consumer habits brought about by coronavirus impacts our advertisers.

If you haven't already, please consider supporting our trusted, fact-checked journalism by taking out a digital subscription.