FACE coverings will become mandatory in Scotland's shops from the end of next week, the First Minister has confirmed.

During her daily briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government has been considering the issue of face coverings "for some time now".

She confirmed it will become mandatory in Phase 3. 

Why the change?

Face coverings became mandatory in Scotland on all public transport on June 22.

The First Minister said that "as we all start to interact more, it is vital that we take all reasonable steps to reduce risk.

"And we know that these coverings can help reduce the risk of transmission indoors." 

"This is a really important way for all of us to help protect each other and to display that sense of solidarity that has served us well," she said.

When does it become mandatory?

Ms Sturgeon said the enforcement will take place on Phase 3 - July 10.

However she urged Scots not to wait until next week, asking them to get into the habit now.

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How will it be enforced?

The First Minister said the rules will be enforced in a similar way to those on public transport.

She said it would be "not fair or reasonable" to expect shop workers to enforce the rules - and instead it would be down to the police to do so.

Fixed penalty notices - which start at £60 - could be handed out by the police, but she says they will do so only at a last resort.

Ms Sturgeon added: "All of us can help by doing this voluntarily because it can make a difference". 

Who is exempt?

Children under five will be exempt from this rule, Ms Sturgeon confirmed, along with those with certain medical conditions.

Following in line with the public transport rules, then the following groups may also be exempt:

  • Police officers/first responders in an emergency
  • Staff separate by a physical barrier – including bus drivers behind a screen
  • Anyone with a health condition where a mask would cause difficulty, including asthma
  • You need to take medication
  • To speak with someone who lip reads
  • When asked to remove it by a relevant authority, e.g. Police officer.

But Ms Sturgeon said: “For everyone else, face coverings will be mandatory."

What else was announced?

Ms Sturgeon also announced that the two-metre social distancing rule can be reduced in the hospitality and retail sectors and on public transport at that time.

Pubs, restaurants and shops will be allowed to adhere to a one-metre rule instead, with mitigation measures in place.

But the general rule in law will be that businesses must take reasonable measures to ensure two-metre distancing is maintained, she said.

The First Minister also said 2487 patients have now died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by one from 2486 on Wednesday.

A total of 18,264 people have tested positive for the virus, up by five from 18,259 the previous day.