Police speak to Nicola Sturgeon over suspected breach of face mask law

Officers not taking further action after Scottish FM says she is ‘sorry’ for seconds-long rule break

Sam Hancock
Tuesday 19 April 2022 07:29
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Nicola Sturgeon is filmed inside a Scottish barber shop without a face mask.mp4

Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon has issued an apology after being reminded by police “of the importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so”.

It comes after leaked footage appeared to show Ms Sturgeon breaching Scotland’s Covid face mask laws over the weekend – days before they were dropped.

“Local officers have spoken to the first minister,” Police Scotland said in a statement on Monday, before adding the politician would not be fined.

“Given the circumstances of this incident, Police Scotland is satisfied that no further action is necessary. This is in line with our proportionate approach throughout the pandemic.”

Ms Sturgeon was reported to the force after being filmed, on Saturday, visiting the Iconic Gents Hair barber shop in East Kilbride without a mask on. She was campaigning at the time.

Until Monday, it was legally required for people to wear face coverings in many indoor settings in Scotland, including shops, hairdressers and public transport. The law has now become guidance.

Responding to the news that police had been in touch with her, the first minister apologised but claimed she noticed after only “a few seconds” that she had forgotten to put a mask on and rectified this “immediately”.

“After a few seconds of being in the shop, I realised I had forgotten to put my face covering back on. I then immediately put it on,” she said. “However, I accept that not wearing a face covering even for a few seconds was an error on my part and I am sorry for that.”

Ms Sturgeon said it was “absolutely right” that police had treated her “no differently to any other citizen”, but insisted: “I explained that the error was inadvertent and the police have confirmed that the matter is closed.”

She added that while the law no longer required face coverings to be worn, “I will continue to do so in circumstances where this can help reduce the risk of infection, and I encourage everyone to do likewise”.

In the video, which was posted to social media, Ms Sturgeon can be seen without a face covering as she mingles with customers and pats the head of a man in a barber’s chair while mimicking the sound of an electric razor.

A separate video, which she uploaded to her own Twitter account, showed the first minister inside the same shop and shaving a man’s beard – while wearing a tartan mask.

In its own statement regarding the incident, Ms Sturgeon’s party, the SNP, said: “The first minister was invited into the barbers during an outdoor visit on the street.

“Within a few seconds, she realised she hadn’t put her mask back on and immediately put it on.”

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