Older people feel more confident wearing a face mask in shops and on public transport
Age Scotland has welcomed the the announcement that Scotland's mandatory face covering rules will stay in place until 18 April and will then remain as guidance.
The charity said many older people feel more confident wearing a face mask in shops and on public transport and are understandably cautious about the lifting of restrictions in place to keep them safe.
Case numbers have hit record levels in Scotland in recent weeks, with one in 11 people estimated to have had the virus in the week to 20 March.
Brian Sloan, chief executive of Age Scotland, said: “Removing the legal requirement to wear a face covering in shops and on public transport on April 18 will be a welcome sign of a return to normal life for many people.
“But for some older people, those who are clinically vulnerable and carers, this could be a worrying time as the protections that were put in place to keep them safe two years ago, are lifted.
“Covid is still very much with us, and we know that older people are still at the highest risk from the virus. We welcome the government’s approach to encourage the continued use of face masks in public after the rules change and hope people take steps keep themselves and others safe.
“We would also ask everyone to be tolerant and show kindness towards older people and those with disabilities who choose to carry on wearing a face covering and may want to maintain some social distancing to keep themselves safe, especially when Covid is so prevalent across the country. Not everyone is ready to venture into crowded environments without some protection.
“For over 75s, and those at highest risk of severe Covid, we would urge them to take up the offer of a 2nd Covid vaccine booster. Being fully vaccinated has been shown to protect people from the worst effects of the virus and is the best way to resume socialising, shopping and travelling with confidence.”
This is the second time Scotland has delayed lifting the face mask laws, which had originally been due to be removed on 21 March.