PEOPLE have been warned not to assume wearing a face covering will “make you invincible” from being infected with Covid-19 – as the Scottish Government considers making the items mandatory in shops. 

From Monday, it is mandatory for those using public transport, including riding in taxis or private hire vehicles, to wear a face covering to help stop the spread of Covid-19 in situations where social distancing is difficult. 

The Scottish Government is also considering whether it will make face coverings mandatory in shops – with people already advised to cover up in enclosed spaces such as supermarkets. 

Under plans announced by Nicola Sturgeon yesterday, street-access shops can re-open to customers from Monday, June 29 with social distancing rules in place. 

The Scottish Government has published guidance for customers to prepare them for how their retail experience will change. 

Customers should “reduce the frequency of your shopping trips” and are urged to “use click and collect facilities or online delivery where possible”. 

READ MORE: Jason Leitch: 'Virus prevalence' could inform future decision on reducing two-metre rule

The advice adds that supermarket customers should “use a shopping list to ensure that you have enough food to last until your next shopping outing” and “maximise use of your freezer”. 

Scotland’s national clinical director, Professor Jason Leitch has reiterated the importance of face coverings – after watching in horror at crowds south of the border jostling to enter shops that have re-opened, which he likened to “Boxing Day sales”. 

He said: “I got quite concerned when I saw some shops in England earlier in the week opening and lots of masks ed people crowded together, waiting to go through the door. That’s not how this should work. 

“Face coverings are an important element if you can’t physically distance in public transport and shops – but they are one element of that. They will help with risk in those environments.” 

He added: “What concerned me was what appeared to be a reliance on face coverings to make you invincible. Face coverings are an important element of risk reduction, but they do not make you invincible. 

“It looked as though people were not queued up outside shops but they were gathering in groups around the door of the shop waiting for it to open – a bit like Boxing Day sales.” 

Professor Leitch added that he has “great faith in Scotland’s retail industry” and praised them for their attitude so far during the crisis. 

He added: Supermarkets have learned a whole new way of managing crowds, of distancing and individuals have behaved, as far as I can tell, very well.Now we need to extend that to smaller shops. I already see some shops around where I live getting ready for exactly that.  

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: Shops to reopen from June 29 amid further easing of restrictions

“If it is one customer at a time because the shop is small, then it should only be one person at a time and face coverings in crowded areas, absolutely – but they do not mean that you can then not physically distance.  

“The purpose is where it’s difficult to physically distance, wear a face covering. They don’t reduce the need for other public health measures.” 

Ms Sturgeon was asked about the level of fines that people could face for not wearing a face covering on public transport, but stressed it would be on a scale and added she did not want to focus “on enforcement of these things”. 

She said: “Yes, we’ve had rules in place all along the police can and in some instances, have enforced.  

“We have got where we are right now because people have done the right thing – they have done the right thing for their own safety and for the safety of others.”  

Ms Sturgeon added: “If you have the virus but you might not know it because you don’t have symptoms, if you have a face covering on when you’re on a bus or a train with other people, you are reducing your risk of transmitting that virus to somebody else.  

“If you are on a bus and a train with somebody else who has the virus and they are wearing a face covering, they are reducing the risk of passing it on to you. 

“This is one of the simplest, and I know it’s not comfortable for people, I  know people don’t like wearing a face covering, but it is one of the most basic things we can all do to protect each other.” 

But Ms Sturgeon confirmed that “rules will be enforced if they have to be enforced.”  

She added: “I think we get further with that if we explain to people why we are asking them to do things. 

“That’s why I’m going to continue to say yes when we put something in law, of course it can be enforced – but let’s all do it for the right reasons, which is we want to protect each other from a virus we know can do so much damage.”