From tomorrow, the legal requirement to wear face coverings in most indoor public spaces and on public transport has been downgraded to guidance.
It is strongly recommended that people should continue to wear face coverings where appropriate – including in shops, indoor crowded spaces and on public transport - as members of the public are advised to carry on taking sensible precautions to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Data shows the situation has generally improved but COVID has not gone away, with over 5,000 cases a day still being recorded in Scotland each day.
Kenneth Gibson MSP said:
“While there were decreases in COVID-19 levels across most of Scotland last week, North Ayrshire Council in fact reported an increase, so the virus is still very much present in our communities.
“I would therefore recommend keeping a mask with you and wear it when your common sense tells you to – when you visit a care home or are with someone vulnerable, when moving around indoors and so on.
“Having said this, I too am delighted that we have reached the stage where it is safe enough not to have to wear a mask at all time. We have done this together and this return to normality has been hard-earned.”
In additions, there have been changes to Test and Protect meaning that from tomorrow:
Most people without symptoms will no longer be asked to take COVID-19 tests.
Free lateral flow devices (LFDs) for the purposes of twice weekly routine testing will no longer be available for the general population given the changing advice, but will continue to be free for any purpose for which testing continues to be advised – for clinical care, for health and social care workers and for people visiting vulnerable individuals in care homes or hospitals
Until the end of April, people with symptoms should still isolate and obtain a PCR test
Vaccinated close contacts of someone with COVID-19 should continue to test daily for seven days with LFDs
If you have COVID symptoms, you will still be able to book PCR tests in the usual way until 30 April. From that date, test sites will close and people with symptoms will no longer be advised that they need to seek a test.
The public health advice for people who feel unwell will be to stay at home until they feel better, to reduce the risk of infecting other people.