1. Please provide information/details of the relevant Scottish Government ‘Face covering’ regulations and advice for parents and other visitors when visiting a primary school.
2. Please provide information/details of the relevant Scottish Government ‘Face covering’ regulations and advice for adults when in a primary school classroom setting.
3. On the 11th March 2022, the Cabinet Secretary for Health visited a primary school in Glasgow and pictures of this visit show (School twitter account/Health Secretary personal twitter account) that the Health Secretary was not wearing a face covering when in this primary school setting. In one particular picture he is shown surrounded and in close proximity to the group of 17/18 children. Please provide information and advice on whether the Health Secretary has broken Scottish Government ‘Face covering’ regulations during the course of this particular visit to a primary school.
4. It is still a legal requirement to wear a face covering in certain indoor settings in Scotland. Please provide details/information on the level of fine/fixed penalty notice which can be issued to an individual if they fail to comply with Scottish Government face covering regulations.
5. In relation to his visit to the Glasgow primary school on the 11th March, please provide information/advice on whether the Cabinet Secretary for Health would be liable for a fine/fixed penalty notice under Scottish Government regulations, in this instance.
The answers to your questions are:
Points 1 and 2.
The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Requirements) (Scotland) Regulations 2021 set out the requirements to wear face coverings in certain indoor spaces, including details of fixed penalty notices.
This means that if a person is not wearing a face covering in the mandated spaces, they will be in breach of the law and liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum. The police have enforcement powers to issue a Fixed Penalty Notice of £60 (halving to £30 if paid within 28 days) if members of the public do not comply with this law without a reasonable excuse.
However, it is crucial to point out that throughout the pandemic, guidance pertaining to schools has been non-statutory rather than in legislation, so these Regulations only applied to the settings listed within. From the 18th April face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement in any setting including schools.
At the time of writing this reply, and in March when the Cabinet Secretary for Health visited a primary school in Glasgow, the non-statutory guidance for schools asked that face coverings be worn by staff, parents and other visitors in communal areas. The updated guidance, which will apply from 18 April states:
“The legal requirement to wear a face covering in most indoor places and on public transport is due to be replaced with general safety guidance for people who are managing a workplace or organisation. From that point (currently scheduled to be the 18th April) schools should apply the approach within that workplace guidance to the use of face coverings by staff and secondary pupils in communal areas in schools. In practice this means that the wearing of face coverings will not be mandatory, but it will remain encouraged in communal areas. Any individual who wishes to wear a face covering in a school setting should be continue to be supported to do so.”
Points 3 and 4.
The First Minister has indicated that the wider legal requirement - which applies to shops, certain other indoor settings and public transport - will be converted to guidance on 18 April. This means that from the 18th April face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement in any setting.
The Cabinet Secretary for Health is not liable for a fine/fixed penalty notice.
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
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
There is a problem
Thanks for your feedback