Scotland’s major Covid changes starting Monday as mask rule and rapid tests end

Two of Scotland’s biggest Covid policies are changing from Monday, April 18 with the end of the mask mandate and free rapid tests.

Face coverings will become guidance from tomorrow after being a legal requirement for almost two years.

Access to free rapid tests will also come to a conclusion for most people in Scotland.

Even still, Humza Yousaf believes Scots will still wear them voluntarily after Nicola Sturgeon urged for mask wearing in enclosed public spaces – even if it will no longer be mandatory.

The health secretary said “we are taking the right decision” in an appearance on BBC Radio Scotland’s Sunday Show today.

The changes follow in the wake of England dropping face masks in late January.

Face masks rules ending in Scotland

Scotland is axing face mask rules on April 18, Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed

On April 18, face coverings will no longer be legally required in indoor public spaces and on public transport.

The First Minister confirmed the end of face mask rules would go ahead as planned.

Sturgeon released a statement on April 13, saying: “In recent weeks we have seen steady progress as we move back to a greater sense of normality and a more sustainable way of managing this virus.

“However our NHS is still under pressure and the most vulnerable members of our society can still benefit from additional measures to protect them from the virus.”

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JULY 10: Members of the public wear face masks as they shop on Princess Street on July 10, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Masks won’t be required in indoor public places anymore as of Monday the 18th

She continued: “That is why although the use of face coverings will become guidance rather than a legal requirement, I strongly recommend members of the public continue wearing face coverings in indoor settings where possible, and particularly when significant numbers of people are present.”

The FM said Scots should continue to follow the latest advice on hygiene, ventilation, testing and vaccination.

Previously, being caught out without a mask could land you with a £60 fine.

No more free rapid lateral flow tests

Macro image of a Covid-19 test cartridge showing a negative result.
Say goodbye to free rapid lateral flow tests

The guidance by NHS Scotland is to take lateral flow tests (LFTs) twice a week.

People without symptoms are encouraged to use rapid tests as one in three people don’t show signs.

However, the Scottish Government is putting an end to free LFTs on April 18.

There are limited circumstances where the tests will be available, such as where testing continues to be advised, including clinical care, health and social care workers, and for people visiting vulnerable individuals in care homes or hospitals.

Until the end of April, the guidance says people with symptoms should still isolate and take a PCR test.

Further Covid changes to come – PCRs and test sites

Scots with Covid symptoms can book PCR tests until April 30.

After that date, the Scottish Government says symptomatic people don’t need testing.

Test sites will close and people who are unwell will be asked to stay home.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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