Publication - FOI/EIR release

Mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Published:
10 Aug 2020
Mandatory wearing of face coverings in shops: FOI release
FOI reference: FOI/202000056858 FOI/202000055985
Date received: 3 Jul 2020
Date responded: 15 Jul 2020
Information requested

The following documents, reports and policy logs regarding First Ministers declaration that face masks are to be mandatory in shops announced 2nd July 2020.

1. Copies of scientific reports name, authors and recommendations.
2. Minutes of cabinet meetings or other meetings relating to same
3. Copies of who voted and how they voted
4.Copy go legislation
5. Members present at meetings and discussions

 

Response

The scientific evidence used by the Scottish Government is underpinned on the advice provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and can be found at: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/adviceon-the-use-of-masks-in-the-community-during-home-care-and-in-healthcare-settings-in-the-context-ofthe-novel-coronavirus-(2019-ncov)-outbreak.

I have also attached an extract from the Cabinet meetings at which this topic was discussed. The First Minister and her Cabinet attend those meetings and there were no votes concerning this issue. [This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have the information you have requested on voting at Cabinet Meetings.]

The Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills also chaired a COVID-19 Retail Sub Group at which this was discussed and the relevant minutes are attached. Details of those in attendance that have not been noted in the minutes are as follows;

  • Organisations represented at meeting of 09 June 2020: USDAW, GMB, Scottish Whisky Association, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Retail Consortium, Health and Safety Executive, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Property Federation, South Ayrshire Council, Minister for Business, Work and Skills, SG Officials x 4
  • Organisations represented at meeting of 01 July 2020: USDAW, GMB, Scottish Whisky Association, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Retail Consortium, Health and Safety Executive, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Property Federation, South Ayrshire Council, Minister for Business, Work and Skills, SG Officials x 5
  • Organisations represented at meeting of 06 July 2020 USDAW, GMB, Scottish Whisky Association, Federation of Small Businesses, Scottish Retail Consortium, Health and Safety Executive, Scottish Grocers Federation, Scottish Property Federation, Food Standards Scotland, South Ayrshire Council, Minister for Business, Work and Skills, SG Officials x 4

In July this year the legislation on ‘The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 7) Regulations 2020’ where published and can be found at:
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/210/contents/made.

Exemptions to the minutes of the COVID-19 Retail Sub Group
An exemption applies
An exemption under section 38(1)(b) (personal information) of FOISA also applies to some the information you have requested. The information requested is personal data of a third party and disclosing these details would contravene the data protection principles in Article 5(1) of the General Data Protection Regulation and in section 34(1) of the Data Protection Act 2018. This exemption is not subject to the ‘public interest test’, so we are not required to consider if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. 

An exemption applies, subject to the public interest test 
An exemption under section 33(1)(b) of FOISA applies to some of the information you have requested. The disclosure of this information would, or would be likely to, prejudice substantially the commercial interests of a person or organisation.

This exemption is subject to the ‘public interest test’. Therefore, taking account of all the circumstances of this case, we have considered if the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs the public interest in applying the exemption. We have found that, on balance, the public interest lies in favour of upholding the exemption. We recognise that there is some public interest in release because of our commitment to open and transparent government. However, this is outweighed by the public interest in allowing business to develop commercial relationships and exchange information where disclosure could have a detrimental effect on commercial interests.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.

Contact

Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Email: ceu@gov.scot
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road
Edinburgh
EH1 3DG