Covid face masks in Scotland: Lifting of legal requirements from April 18 is a historic moment – Scotsman comment – The Scotsman

From April 18, face masks will no longer be legally required in shops and other settings in Scotland (Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images)

For some, it will feel like a time to rejoice as what is hopefully the final ‘freedom day’ brings a most tangible sign of the much longed-for ‘return to normality’.

That the SNP government, which has taken a cautious approach, imposing restrictions for longer than south of the border, feels able to take this step is a welcome sign.

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But Health Secretary Humza Yousaf did add some caveats to the good news. While saying that the current wave of infections appears to be subsiding, he added that “being frank, this is not the last wave we are going to have to deal with”. Furthermore, he stressed that while the legal requirement had been dropped, government guidance was still to wear face coverings in some settings.

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And people are still dying from this terrible disease. According to figures published yesterday, there were 28 coronavirus-linked deaths and 5,513 new cases reported in Scotland over the previous 24 hours.

So while everyone is free to choose not to wear a mask, they should also recognise that many people will want to continue to do so. It’s not a political statement or a tacit rebuke, it’s their choice and one they are entitled to make.

That said, Monday really is a landmark moment for the country and one that many will wish to celebrate.

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