COVID-19 complaints regarding the wearing of face masks: FOI Review

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

Information requested

Your request, reference 202200283668

“In the past two years since the virus began, How many complaints have there been with regard the wearing of face masks and what were these complaints?”


Further to my letter of 1 March 2022, I have now completed my review of our failure to respond to your request under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 (FOISA).

In accordance with section 21(4) of FOISA, I have also reached a decision on your request.

I have established the reason for our failure to respond on time and apologise that your request was not actioned appropriately in line with FOISA. Your request was mis-categorised as a complaint and not as a Freedom of Information request on our system. I can confirm that I have asked staff to take care when uploading incoming mail to our system, and have reminded staff that requests for recorded information should be dealt with under the appropriate legislation, to avoid this occurring in the future.

I can now provide our response to your original request.

Your original request was dated the 10 January 2022. Therefore, I have considered the scope of your request as complaints received between 10 January 2020 and 10 January 2022.

The Scottish Government has received one official complaint which directly relates to the use of face covering in Scotland. This complaint raised concerns about the potential risk of transmission due to the public removing and reusing face coverings without the appropriate hygiene measures.

The Scottish Government Complaints Department also received 22 correspondence items relating to the use of face coverings in Scotland. It was determined that these should not be treated as complaints and instead responded to through correspondence replies. I have included a break down of the topics these cases related to below.


Cases Received

Face coverings on Public Transport


Face coverings in Education


Face coverings in Retail Settings


Face covering legislation


About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

Back to top