Guidance on whether face masks will have to be worn in nightclubs has not yet been finalised, Nicola Sturgeon told MSPs.
The First Minister announced on Tuesday that most legal restrictions would be in removed in Scotland from August 9 as cases continue to fall in the wake of the successful vaccine rollout.
But the mask mandate, Sturgeon said, would continue in some form for some time to come in the same indoor settings. However, nightclubs have not been open throughout the pandemic and therefore mask wearing has not been legally required.
When asked for clarity on the issue by Labour MSP Pauline McNeill, the First Minister said: “I think it is important that we have similar mitigations in all indoor settings.
“But we will be engaging with the night time industries sector about exactly how we would hope, as they are able to reopen from Monday, they will ensure that the right mitigations are in place and what will be expected of them as well as what we would encourage them to do.”
The First Minister said she had been having discussions in recent days with the sector and it was clear that some restrictions – with the strong allusion being she meant face coverings – would “make no sense” in nightclubs, adding: “Even if a nightclub was technically allowed to open, it would make it really impractical.
“As we finalise guidance for the reopening, we will make sure that we don’t skimp on appropriate safety measures, but we will be mindful of the practical realities in settings like nightclubs.”
Sturgeon also took the opportunity to urge anyone returning to clubs after Monday’s reopening, in particular younger people, to get vaccinated.
“If you intend over the next few weeks to go back to a nightclub, and who could blame you for that, please make sure if you’re over 18 you’ve got your vaccine before you do,” she said.
“That will help protect you.
“We want people to be able to responsibly enjoy things again, but protect yourself as you do.
“You’ll be reducing the risk of becoming ill and you’ll be helping to protect others as well.”