Covid rules on face masks and social distancing eased

More coronavirus restrictions relaxed in Scotland on Friday due to a 'significantly improved' situation.

Covid rules on face masks and social distancing eased Getty Images
Covid: Face masks must still be worn in shops but are no longer required in some other settings.

Rules on social distancing and the wearing of face coverings in certain circumstances were relaxed in Scotland on Friday.

Adults no longer have to wear masks when they taking part in organised activities that involve directly interacting with children under the age of five.

Furthermore, the two-metre physical distancing rule for people exempt from wearing a face mask – such as receptionists and people leading religious services – has been reduced to one metre.

The changes were announced by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in her Covid update to the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, where she outlined that Scotland is in a “significantly improved situation” in its battle against the virus.

Sturgeon said: “This progress is real and I am hopeful it can be sustained. That said, we know there are uncertainties still ahead and the virus continues to be unpredictable.

“All of this means that while our return to more normality can be made with confidence, we should still exercise some caution.”

The requirement for secondary school pupils to wear face coverings remains in place for now. Masks are also still required in indoor settings such as shops, supermarkets and on public transport.

However, there will be a further easing of Covid rules on Monday, when guidance requiring Scots to work from home where possible is ditched in favour of hybrid working.

The Scottish Government is recommending that employers allow workers to spend some time in the office and some time at home.

Sturgeon said: “We would not expect to see a wholesale return to the office next week – indeed, given that the level of infection, though falling, remains high, a mass return at this stage is likely to set progress back.

“But we know there are many benefits to both employees and employers, and to the economy as a whole, in at least a partial return to the office at this stage.

“Indeed many businesses successfully implemented hybrid working last autumn.”

The Scottish Government has now relaxed all of the restrictions it imposed at Christmas in the wake of the Omicron variant.

Earlier this month, nightclubs were allowed to open again and bars don’t need to operate table service.

Indoor gatherings no longer need to be limited to a maximum of three households and there are no limits on large-scale crowds at outdoor events.