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Following the successful introduction of mandatory face coverings on public transport in Scotland, the Scottish government has announced the measure will be extended to include retail settings from Friday, 10 July.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon also announced the outcome of a review of the evidence on the 2 metre social distancing rule. Advice from the COVID-19 Advisory Group makes clear that the fundamental science around distance and transmission remains unchanged and that risk increases with proximity to an infected individual. As such, the Scottish Government will retain 2 metres as the default physical distancing requirement for Phase 3 but introduce exceptions to this requirement if practicable mitigating measures can be implemented. Settings and sectors considered appropriate for exceptions, pending agreed mitigations, are: public transport; outdoor hospitality; indoor hospitality; and retail. There will be no exemptions prior to the move to Phase 3.

Announcing the changes, the First Minister said: “As we move further out of lockdown, some rules will become more targeted and, as such, a bit more complicated. However, the basic foundation principles and hygiene measures remain as important as ever – each and every one of us must strike the right balance in order to keep the momentum of lifting lockdown going while protecting the progress made. What we are witnessing across the country is a sharp reminder just how highly infectious COVID-19 is, and how vital it is that we proceed with care and caution.

“That said, please take advantage of the fact that some rules are changing. Get out and about a bit more if you can and are able. Support your local businesses where possible – shops, outdoor hospitality and self-catering accommodation are beginning to reopen, travel distance restrictions are being lifted, and we are actively exploring further measures we can introduce – such as face coverings and 2 metre rule exemptions – that can get our economy safely back up and running even quicker.

“If you are ever in doubt, please remember our key guidance – the FACTS: face coverings should be worn in enclosed spaces; avoid crowded areas; clean your hands and hard surfaces regularly and thoroughly; 2 metre distancing remains in place; self-isolate, and book a test immediately, if you have symptoms of COVID-19.”

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