Gillian Martin, MSP for Aberdeenshire East, today welcomed the announcement by Nicola Sturgeon MSP, First Minister of Scotland, that wearing face coverings will be made mandatory in shops from 10th July.
The decision will apply to everyone over the age of 5 years old, though there will be exemptions for those people with medical conditions that could be exacerbated by wearing a face covering.
The announcement comes after Ms Martin wrote to the First Minister to request that the government consider making it.
Although the Scottish Government has recommended wearing face coverings for months, it has not been mandatory to do so. Now, with much of the retail sector reopening this week, and further relaxation of lockdown upcoming, the Government has now taken the decision to make wearing them mandatory.
Gillian Martin has advocated the wearing of face coverings since April of this year. The north east MSP began her efforts to convince more people to wear them after reading reports that suggested the practice was significant in reducing the spread of covid-19 in other countries. She also collected images of her SNP MSP colleagues sporting their masks in an effort to promote the wearing of them.
Reports showing customers queueing to get into shops this week prompted Ms Martin to write to the First Minister to ask that guidance to wear face coverings become mandatory. Ms Martin has been canvassing opinion on her social media and was overwhelmed with support for the measure being made mandatory.
Gillian Martin MSP for Aberdeenshire East said
What the First Minister has announced today will be such a relief to the many anxious people who’ve been in touch with me pleading for more to be done to ensure face coverings are worn – in shops in particular.
Not only are we protecting others, we are putting measures in place that can give us the confidence to enjoy the lifting of restrictions on our movements. Plus, we help protect the shop workers we owe so much to.
Other countries have benefited from mandatory mask wearing, and I’m convinced we will too.
Nicola Sturgeon MSP, the First Minister, said today
We have been recommending the use of face coverings for some time now, and it is already mandatory on public transport. I can confirm today that from the expected start of Phase three – 10th July – wearing face coverings will also be mandatory in shops.
Let me be very clear – this is not a decision we have taken lightly. Indeed, it’s taken us some time to reach this decision. But as we start to interact more, it’s vital that we take all reasonable steps to reduce risk. And we know that face coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission indoors.
Also, in shops, as on public transport, contact tracing is more difficult because we usually don’t know the people we have been in contact with. So a face covering provides an additional layer of protection.
It is therefore for all of these reasons that face coverings in shops will be compulsory from the end of next week. But please do not wait until then – get in the habit of it now.
This is an important way for all of us to help protect each other, and to display that sense of solidarity that has served the country so well over the past few months.