Risk Assessment COVID-19 face mask policy: FOI release

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

Information requested

  • A copy of the risk assessment for Phase 3: staying safe and protecting others face mask policy
    – Travelling and Shopping.
  • Whether the Scottish Government advised GPs not to write exemption letters for asthma sufferers?


The answer to your question is included below.
The Scottish Government has always and continues to make decisions based on the available scientific and medical evidence. Regarding face coverings, decisions were based on evidence and advice from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE).

The Scottish Government Covid-19 Advisory Group, commonly known as the CMO’s Advisory Group, applies the advice from the SAGE and other appropriate sources of evidence and information and use it to inform local decisions in Scotland.
The decision to make face coverings mandatory on public transport and retail settings was based on this evidence.
I have noted below links to the appropriate information :

  • On 4 June 2020, SAGE discussed mitigation measures which included the use of face covering.  You can find further information in the meeting minutes which are available on the UK Government website here.
  • The World Health Organisation released update advice on face covering on the 5 June 2020.  The guidance advised that to prevent Covid-19 transmission effectively in areas of community transmission, governments should encourage the general public to wear face coverings in specific situations and settings as part of comprehensive approach to suppress Covid-19 transmission. You can find a copy of this guidance on the WHO website here.
  • The UK Government released a summary of the relevant SAGE reports for this topic. This can be found on the UK Parliament website here.

The Scottish Government also completed an Equality Impact Assessment (EQIA) which allows us to assess how a policy will impact on people.

We completed an EQIA for the mandatory wearing of face coverings and have published this on the legislation.gov.uk website :
https://www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2020/182/pdfs/ssieqia_20200182_en.pdf. The EQIA starts on page 10 of this document.

The Scottish Government has written to all GPs in Scotland to advise them that they are not required to issue people who are exempt from the requirement to wear face coverings in shops, public transport and spaces where physical distancing is impossible with proof of their exemption. Proof of exemption does not need to be provided when in these settings.

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.


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

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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