On 9 August 2021, Scotland followed in the footsteps of other UK countries by relaxing almost all of its coronavirus restrictions.
But First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that Scotland would be leaving Level 0 on 3 August warned of the need to be “extra careful” and “extra vigilant” as lockdown restrictions came to an end.
The rise of the Delta variant in the UK has seen case soar in late August and early September.
Scotland alone saw over 7,000 daily positive cases on Monday 6 September.
But as Covid cases start to fall across the UK, here’s what you need to know about current face mask rules in England and Scotland – and how they differ.
What are the face mask rules in England?
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that as part of England’s ‘Freedom Day’ of lifting all legal coronavirus restrictions in the country, face masks would cease to be mandatory on public transport and in indoor spaces such as shops, bars, pubs and restaurants.
Mr Johnson said that decisions over wearing face coverings would become a matter of “personal choice” for English citizens, but Mayor of London Sadiq Khan later asserted that face masks would be required on public transport in the British capital.
Outside of London, face masks or coverings do not have to be worn on public transport or in transport hubs like train stations, bus stations and airports in England.
Employers can still ask that those working for them wear face masks in work environments, however.
UK Government guidance also states that while face coverings are not mandatory, they are still recommended in crowded and enclosed spaces such as busy public transport services.
Are face masks mandatory in Scotland?
Face masks or coverings were required across all levels of lockdown restrictions in Scotland, from zero to four, and have remained mandatory even after the country left Level 0 on 9 August.
Face masks in Scotland must still be worn when moving around in indoor venues such as bars, nightclubs and restaurants and on public transport - even if you have been double vaccinated.
Children over the age of 12 are also required to wear face coverings in Scottish schools, during lessons and inside school buildings, alongside one metre social distancing remains in place.
Speaking on 3 August, Ms Sturgeon said: “I am acutely aware that many, many young people find this difficult - and it will be kept under review.
"But for now, we consider this an important protection for them, and for others in the school.”
Scroll down to see the full list of venues and events where face masks are required in Scotland.
Only those who are exempt from wearing face masks on the basis of medical reasons or being younger than 12-years-old do not have to wear a face covering in the areas below.
Where do I need to wear a face mask in Scotland?
According to the latest Scottish Government guidance, face coverings remain mandatory in the following Scottish venues:
- public transport services and premises, including when seated in a hospitality setting.
- any building or room used for the retail sale or hire of goods or services, e.g. shops, takeaway restaurants, grocery stores, pharmacies, estate agents, shopping malls, post offices, among others
- any building or room used for the provision of a close contact service such as hair dressers and beauty and nail parlours
- any indoor, or part of any indoor, public place where a marriage ceremony or civil partnership registration is taking place
- any indoor, or part of an indoor, public space used as a polling station or for counting votes in an election
- banks, building societies and credit unions
- community centres
- conference or exhibition centres
- entertainment venues, such as cinemas, indoor theatres, comedy clubs, concert halls, casinos
- crematoriums and funeral directors' premises
- hospitality premises, including those in hotels or members’ clubs, such as bars, public houses, cafes and restaurants
- indoor fitness studios, gyms, swimming pools or other indoor leisure centres
- indoor leisure facilities, such as soft play centres, bingo halls, bowling alleys, amusement arcades, snooker and pool halls, indoor funfairs, indoor skating rinks
- inside a vehicle while in use for a driving lesson or driving test, unless all occupants are members of the same household
- libraries and public reading rooms
- museums and galleries
- nightclubs, dance halls or discotheques, or sexual entertainment venues
- premises at which members’ clubs or societies meet
- places of worship
- registration offices
- sports stadiums
- storage and distribution facilities, including collection and drop-off points
- workplaces and workplaces canteens (other than early learning or school settings)
For more information, visit the Scottish Government’s full face covering guidance at: https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-public-use-of-face-coverings/pages/overview/.