Police Scotland: No fines handed out to those not wearing face coverings in shops

Questions over whether the rule can be enforced have been raised in the past by unions.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, wearing a Tartan face mask during a visit to New Look at Ford Kinaird Retail Park in Edinburgh.First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, wearing a Tartan face mask during a visit to New Look at Ford Kinaird Retail Park in Edinburgh.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, wearing a Tartan face mask during a visit to New Look at Ford Kinaird Retail Park in Edinburgh.

No-one in Scotland was fined for not wearing a face covering in a shop or on public transport in the last week, Police Scotland has said.

The news comes following the first weekend after face coverings were made mandatory by law in shops on Friday July 10.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Face coverings have also been compulsory on public transport since June 22.

Police can issue a fine of £60 if you are found to have breached the rules.

However, Police Scotland told The Scotsman and the Edinburgh Evening News that no fixed penalty notices were issued to those not wearing face coverings in shops over the weekend.

There were also no fines issued to those not wearing coverings on public transport throughout last week.

Assistant Chief Constable Gary Ritchie said: "The Chief Constable has made it clear that we are asking people to take personal responsibility to do the right thing and remember the purpose of these measures is to aid the collective effort to stay safe, protect others and save lives by preventing the virus from spreading.

"Our officers will continue to engage with the public, explain the legislation and guidance and encourage compliance. We will use enforcement as a last resort only where there is a clear breach of the legislation.

"A number of exemptions exist that mean certain people are not required to wear a face covering in a shop.

"We would encourage people to raise any concerns with business owners or staff in the first instance."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The move to make face coverings compulsory was welcomed by unions, but many added that they were concerned shop workers or those operating public transport would be expected to enforce the ban.

Prior to the law being passed for shops, Stewart Forrest, Usdaw’s Scottish divisional officer said: “Our big concern is who enforces mandatory face coverings? We do not want shopworkers to be expected to turn people away from the store because they do not have a face covering or it is not being worn properly.

“We accept that face coverings can limit the spread of the virus, but they do more to protect others rather than the wearer and that needs to be understood.”

Ms Sturgeon stated at her briefing on Thursday, July 2 that it would be “unreasonable and unfair” to expect shopworkers to enforce the law, and that police would enforce it “sensitively and proportionately”.

She said: “The regulations that will be published are likely to follow very closely the situation on public transport so in terms of enforcement that would involve for people not complying, potentially the imposition of a fixed penalty notice.

“It is not something I think is fair or reasonable to expect workers in shops to enforce so police would be able in certain circumstances to impose fixed penalty notices but the police will enforce these things very proportionately and sensitively.

“I recognise very readily that this is not the easiest thing for the police to enforce either which is why all of us can help by doing this voluntarily even though it is going to be backed up by law.”

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to scotsman.com and enjoy unlimited access to Scottish news and information online and on our app. Visit https://www.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director



Want to join the conversation? Please or to comment on this article.