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On Tuesday 22 February, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon addressed Scottish parliament with new plans for managing life with covid.

Sturgeon announced that from March 21, 2022, the legal requirement to wear facemasks in indoor settings, shops and public transport will be converted to guidance only, although Sturgeon strongly advises the Scottish parliament to continue wearing masks where possible. In addition, the covid certification scheme to check the vaccine or test status of the public, will be scrapped on Monday 28 February.

Unlike England, those who test positive will be asked to continue to self-isolate and testing will remain in place for now and will remain free of charge. The first minister also stresses the importance of getting vaccinated to help keep the Scottish public safe.

Following the announcements, the Scottish government have updated their Strategic Framework to set out the next steps in living with Covid-19. The Scottish government recognises that the impacts of the pandemic have been felt tremendously by the customer-facing service sectors and understands the challenges that remain.

Whilst the central government will always have a responsibility to lead, support and, if necessary, take tough decisions, the public all have a part to play in remaining vigilant for Covid-19 infections, in adapting how we live, work, and interact to reduce harm, and for building greater resilience against potential acute phases of the virus in the future.

The strategic plan includes important considerations which businesses can implement to help reduce the spread of the virus, protect their employees and customers and trade, or operate fully in that different environment.

This includes:

  • Increased hygiene
    • Ensuring hand sanitiser is available and encouraged to be used
    • Ensure soap dispensers are in place and full in facilities
    • Regular cleaning of tables etc.
  • Adjusting premises
    • Improved ventilation, including mechanical ventilation where possible (see below)
    • Altering premises including using outside spaces where possible
    • Encouraging some distancing between customers and staff where possible
  • Adjusting behaviours
    • Increased levels of hybrid working (see below)
    • Support staff to isolate when symptomatic
    • Encourage face coverings even when not mandatory
    • Testing (when available and appropriate)

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