The Scottish Grocers Federation has strongly criticised today’s announcement by the first minister that wearing face masks in shops is to become mandatory.
The measure was announced by Nicola Sturgeon at her daily briefing and will apply to customers and staff with effect from Friday July 10.
Staff working behind protective screens will be exempt, while further detail will be provided regarding age verification and staff involved in food preparation.
As the country moves into phase three of the routemap out of coronavirus lockdown, Ms Sturgeon said that the use of face coverings would become mandatory in shops, with exemptions for young children and people with certain health conditions.
It was also revealed that people caught not wearing face coverings could be issued with a fixed penalty notice by police.
Fines could start at £60 for non-compliance the first minister revealed.
SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE said: “We are extremely disappointed at this decision. Staff are already under tremendous pressure and this will only add to this in in terms of enforcing these measures in-store and with age verification. Face coverings will further exacerbate retail crime.
“Convenience stores have already implemented social distancing measures very effectively and there is no evidence to show that stores are hotspots for Covid transmission. The Scottish Government should have continued with a voluntary approach to face covering.”
At the briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “We have proceeded for a period with a voluntary approach to this. Some people are complying and some are not, I’m not pointing fingers or trying to blame people for that but we have to make a judgment if we’re heading into a period where more people are interacting.
“And we’ve been having a discussion with more sectors like retail about reducing distancing, and that increases the importance of mitigations like face coverings.”
SGF is working directly with the Scottish Government to develop clear and comprehensive guidance on the new measures.