WEARING masks in indoor public spaces will no longer be a legal requirement from next month, the First Minister has announced.

Speaking in Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon said that from March 21, the law requiring face masks to be worn in indoor public spaces would be ditched.

However, guidance will remain in place recommending that they are worn.

Sturgeon said this would remain the case unless there were any “significant adverse developments”.

POLL: Will you keep wearing a face mask even after the legal requirement ends?

She further said the Scottish Government would continue to “strongly recommend” the wearing of face coverings in shops, other indoor public spaces, and on public transport.

The First Minister did not close the door on bringing back a legal requirement to wear masks. She said that if the pandemic situation changed, then the measure could see a return amid other precautionary measures.

Though the requirement for face masks is to be dropped within a month, hospitality leaders hit out at the move for not happening fast enough.

Scottish Licensed Trade Association managing director Colin Wilkinson said: "The legal requirement to wear a face covering in indoor hospitality and other settings for another month is not the news we wanted to hear today from the First Minister at a time when our sector needs more positivity and confidence – confidence that will encourage customers to start getting out and about again."

The move to drop the requirement to wear masks was announced as part of a raft of measures which will see Scotland "rely much less on legally imposed measures".

Sturgeon told MSPs that the Covid certification scheme would come to an end on Monday February 28, although some businesses may choose to continue with it if they wish.

She added: "We also expect on March 21 to lift the legal requirement for businesses, places of worship, and service providers to have regard to Scottish government guidance on Covid, and to take reasonably practicable measures set out in the guidance. 

"And the legal requirement on businesses and service providers to retain customer contact details is also expected to end on March 21."

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