Facemasks no longer recommended in social care

Guidance relaxed in line with latest clinical advice.

Social care staff and visitors are no longer being advised to wear facemasks at all times under new guidance published today (7 September).

The recommendation has been lifted due to a sharp drop in coronavirus infections and a reduction in severity of illness, which has been driven by Scotland’s successful vaccination programme which has so far seen more than 12 million Covid-19 vaccine doses administered in Scotland.

Care home residents and their loved ones will benefit from these more relaxed visiting arrangements. Masks and face coverings in social care may still be worn if recommended in certain situations, such as a local outbreak of COVID, or if staff deem it necessary. Staff and visitors remain free to wear one if they choose.

This guidance balances the risk of harm from COVID-19 with the impact masks can have on communication, mental wellbeing and rights and choices of those working in and using social care services.

Social Care Minister Kevin Stewart said:

“Our phenomenally successful vaccination programme has driven down infections and saved the NHS from untold pressures.

“Removing the need for facemasks in social care settings including care homes is the latest step in our path to recovering from the pandemic.

“This will make communication and relationships easier in care settings, benefiting mental health and promoting the rights and choices of those working in and using social care.”


 Read the new guidance for face mask use in social care settings.

 Providers are being recommended to implement the face mask guidance as soon as possible from 14 September, or earlier if they are ready to do so.

 All staff within the health and care settings should continue to apply Standard Infection Control Precautions (SICPs) at all times for all individuals receiving care and support.


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