Today’s announcement by the First Minister that the legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport and in most public places will continue until at least early April has been met with disappointment from the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA).
The SLTA believes that Scotland not falling into line with England, where wearing a face covering is no longer required by law, will confuse people – particularly visitors from south of the Border.
“All this does is put yet more pressure on licensed hospitality businesses to police this requirement,” said Paul Waterson, SLTA media spokesperson. “It’s hugely unfair that staff should have to tell customers they cannot enter their premises unless they are wearing a face covering.
“In most cases, customers understand that the law in Scotland is different and will either comply by wearing a mask or walk away. However, we are aware of instances whereby customers simply don’t accept the law and they take out their frustration on staff. That is not acceptable.
“While the advice going forward – regardless of the law – will be to continue wearing a face covering in crowded places with people asked to weigh up their own personal responsibility, it is evident that many people are jaded and simply not bothering. You only have to go into a supermarket to observe that fewer people are wearing masks.
“The licensed hospitality sector is at a stage now where business is picking up – this makes the messaging confusing for visitors from England who will support our hospitality businesses.
“Our sector still has many ongoing issues to overcome and there is an onus on the Scottish Government to support our industry which is key to the economy and jobs. We need them to promote confidence and positivity.”