Scots may have to wear masks for years, warns Nicola Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon said SCOTS may have to continue wearing masks in public spaces for years to come.

The First Minister suggested that face coverings would be the price of lifting other restrictions and living with Covid.

Nicola Sturgeon warns masks here to stay in Scotland


Nicola Sturgeon warns masks here to stay in ScotlandCredit: Alamy
First Minister is expected to extend Scotland's Covid restrictions today


First Minister is expected to extend Scotland’s Covid restrictions todayCredit: PA

Her stance is in stark contrast to that of Boris Johnson, who wants to start removing curbs in the UK by the end of this month.

SNP leadership introduced much harsher measures against the Scots in the battle against Omicron.

These include social distancing at pubs and restaurants, closing nightclubs, and crowd limit is 500 at football games.

She insists the move has helped contain the virus, despite Scotland’s higher infection rate than Britain’s.

And the First Minister is under increasing pressure to ease restrictions and bring her approach in line with the Prime Minister’s.

Hotel owners have asked her to end her “gamble” on the harsher curbs that are impacting businesses.

They said the measures, put in place on Gift Day, did not make “any meaningful difference” to the spread of Omicron.

Many young Scots simply traveling to England to celebrate New Year’s Eve instead in pubs and clubs.

Ms Sturgeon is expected to lift restrictions on outdoor events like sports games when she updates Holyrood this afternoon.

But she will continue to impose sanctions on indoor venues such as bars and restaurants.

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And ahead of the announcement, she suggested masks: may be required for longer periods to allow us to live with “Covid.

She told STV: “Sometimes you hear people talk about learning to live with Covid, which seems to suggest that one morning we wake up and don’t have to worry about it anymore, and not do anything to try to contain and control it.

“That’s not what I mean when I say learn to live with it. Instead, we’ll have to ask ourselves how we’ve adapted to life before the pandemic.

“For example, a face covering may be required in the long term to allow us to live with it with much less protections.”

Restrictions ‘damage’ companies

Her comments come as Scottish business leaders warn Covid restrictions are causing “huge damage” to a number of sectors.

The Aberdeen and Grampian Chambers of Commerce found two-thirds of employers believe Scotland’s measures are no longer adequate.

And more than two in five companies there warned they must cut staff if curbs remained in place.

“The First Secretary must announce the end of these damaging restrictions this week,” said AGCC policy director Ryan Crighton.

“Failing to do so would put the survival of many businesses at risk and jobs on the line.”

Tory Scotland leader Douglas Ross has also urged Ms Sturgeon to provide “a bit of light at the end of the tunnel” by announcing a no-lockdown timetable.

Boris Johnson hopes to start lifting Limitations of the REMOVAL plan in the UK when they are reviewed on January 26.

Health Secretary Ed Argar said today: “In recent days we have seen these cases, particularly in London, start to stabilize and decline and hospital admissions begin to slow down.

“It’s paramount to do so as soon as it’s safe, as soon as possible, that we’re going to ease those restrictions.

“Like working from home or otherwise, and trying to get our society back to normal as we learn to live with this virus.” Scots may have to wear masks for years, warns Nicola Sturgeon

Huynh Nguyen

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