SLTA: end of mandatory face coverings ‘not before time’

By Gary Lloyd

- Last updated on GMT

Welcome news: SLTA MD Colin Wilkinson says the move is long overdue
Welcome news: SLTA MD Colin Wilkinson says the move is long overdue

Related tags Legislation Health and safety Licensing Social responsibility

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) has welcomed the announcement by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon that the legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport and in some public places – including licensed hospitality – will move to “guidance” from April 18.

Colin Wilkinson, SLTA managing director, said that the decision was “not before time and long overdue” and hoped that “licensed hospitality in Scotland can now really start to get back to business”.

He said: “Scotland has been out of step with England for months and it has led to confusion for customers, particularly visitors from south of the Border, and frustration for business owners and their staff – the lack of use of face coverings in has been clearly evident in many settings.”

Long overdue

Wilkinson continued: “The decision to move the legislation to ‘guidance’ is warmly welcomed although not before time and long overdue and while we had hoped it would have been in force ahead of the Easter holidays, a time when licensed hospitality traditionally experiences an uplift in business, it is better late than never.”

Mr Wilkinson added: “There is still an exceptionally long and uphill struggle ahead for many hospitality businesses with ongoing issues to overcome and the Scottish Government needs to support our industry which is key to the economy and jobs.”

Further issues hindering recovery

He continued: “The last thing the sector needs right now is to be hindered in its recovery with issues which have been sitting on the back burner since Covid hit us, such as the deposit return scheme (DRS), calorie labelling on menus, and the introduction of a tourist tax.”

Previously, the SLTA expressed its disappointment over the extension of mandatory face covering​ usage, saying “Scotland not falling into line with England will confuse people – particularly visitors from south of the border. It is already confusing people and it is exceptionally unfair for business owners and their staff to have to remind people who are not familiar with our rules that they must wear a face covering.”

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