Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was seen visiting a barbershop in East Kilbride and speaking to residents on Saturday, April 17, without a face covering. Footage of her visit was posted to social media as part of her SNP local election campaigning.
In a statement, Ms Sturgeon said she “immediately” put her face covering on when she realised she had forgotten “within seconds” of entering the shop.
She added: “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.”
Police Scotland said they got in touch with Ms Sturgeon following a number of complaints.
They reminded her of the importance of wearing a face covering when legally required.
The force added that it was satisfied that no further action was necessary, saying their response was “in line with our proportionate approach throughout the pandemic”.
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Ms Sturgeon said: “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.”
The footage sparked outrage from Scottish MSPs, with the Scottish Conservatives calling her lack of mask “blatant hypocrisy”.
This is the second time Ms Sturgeon has apologised for breaking Covid rules, after she took off her face covering during a funeral in December 2020.
The legal requirement to wear a face covering in crowded indoor places like shops and restaurants and on public transport in Scotland was lifted on Monday, April 18.
However, the Scottish Government strongly advises people to continue to wear masks voluntarily.
Last week UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak were issued with fixed penalty notices by the Metropolitan Police for breaching COVID-19 regulations.
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