Face coverings will no longer be a legal requirement in Scotland’s shops, public transport and schools from April 18.
Nicola Sturgeon made the announcement earlier this afternoon at First Minister’s Questions.
Ms Sturgeon stated there are grounds to believe that the latest wave of Covid has peaked or is now peaking.
She said: “We have already largely moved away from reliance on legally imposed protective measures and are now relying instead on vaccines, treatments and sensible public health behaviours and adaptations.
While urging continuing caution because of the ongoing pressure on the NHS, she added: “We have therefore concluded that, subject as always to the status of the pandemic, the legal requirement to wear face coverings will be replaced with guidance.”
In reply, Douglas Ross, Moray’s MP and the leader of the Scottish Conservatives, criticised the delay until April 18.
He said: “Countries across the UK and Europe have already removed the restrictions and are living with Covid.
“We believe that anyone who wants to continue wearing a face mask should keep doing so, particularly if that will help vulnerable friends and relatives.
“But it should be down to individual choice as it is in other parts of the UK.”
Ms Sturgeon countered: “All the evidence that I have seen on public opinion would suggest that Douglas Ross is seriously out of step with the vast majority of people on this.
“People have to go to shops.
“If we all wear coverings for a couple of weeks more while we see this infection peak and start to fall – I think that is a sensible things to do.”