Police will take “no further action” against Nicola Sturgeon after footage emerged of her without a face mask on the campaign trail for next month’s local elections.
The video showed Scotland’s First Minister in the Iconic Gents Hair barber shop in East Kilbride on Saturday, days before the nation’s remaining Covid laws were dropped.
In a statement, Police Scotland confirmed they had spoken to Ms Sturgeon to “remind her of the importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so”.
However, the force has confirmed no further action against the SNP leader is necessary.
As of today (18 April), Scotland’s requirement to wear face masks in public spaces, including shops, hairdressers and public transport moves into guidance.
But at the weekend – when Ms Sturgeon was on the campaign trail – it was still a legal requirement to wear a face covering.
She later tweeted a video of herself in the shop with a face mask on, shaving a man’s beard off.
What has Nicola Sturgeon said?
The First Minister has apologised for the “error”, and said she immediately put her face covering on within seconds of realising.
She said: “On Saturday, while campaigning out outdoors in East Kilbride I was invited into a local barber shop. 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.
“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.
“Having received complaints about the matter, Police Scotland made contact with me.
“This is what they would have done with anyone else in these circumstances, and they were absolutely right to treat me no differently to any other citizen.
“I explained that the error was inadvertent and the police have confirmed that the matter is closed.
“While the law no longer requires 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.”
What did the police say?
In a statement, Police Scotland confirmed it will take no further action against the First Minister.
It read: “Local officers have spoken to the First Minister to remind her of the importance of wearing a face covering when there is a legal requirement to do so.
“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.”
What have others said?
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar said “we’ve got to accept that people make mistakes” in response to the incident.
“The most important thing is how we encourage people to be doing the right things as we come into this next stage of the pandemic, where obviously face masks are no longer mandatory,” he said.
“Covid’s still here. People are still getting Covid-19. People are still sadly ending up in hospital with Covid-19. So I would encourage people to be cautious.”
The Scottish Conservatives have accused the First Minister of “blatant hypocrisy” over the breach – but Mr Sarwar pointed to a “big difference” between Ms Sturgeon and the Partygate scandal surrounding Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Mr Sarwar said: “I can understand why some people will want to try and draw an equivalence.
“But the bottom line is that there’s a big difference between someone proactively organising parties in Downing Street when people are being forced to lock down, and someone not wearing a mask.