Last reviewed 22 February 2022

After UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson made it clear that he was anxious to see an end to Covid restrictions as quickly as possible (see Covid restrictions will end in England on 24 February), Scotland’s First Minister has said that some will remain in place for another month.

While Covid vaccine passports will no longer be a legal requirement in Scotland from 28 February, Nicola Sturgeon said that the regulations on the wearing of face masks will not be phased out across the country until 21 March.

Even then, she went on, people will be strongly recommended to continue to wear face coverings on public transport and when using other public places.

And although the Covid certification scheme requiring certain venues and events to check the vaccine or test status of attendees is coming to an end, Ms Sturgeon highlighted that the app which supports the scheme will remain operational, so that any business that wishes to continue Covid certification on a voluntary basis to reassure customers will be able to do so.

“We also expect on 21 March 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,” she said.

The First Minister warned that the March changes were still subject to there being no significant adverse developments in the course of the virus.

With regard to testing and self-isolation, she again took a different approach to that advocated by Mr Johnson.

The Scottish Government’s continued advice is that those testing positive should isolate, she said, and she also confirmed that testing will remain free of charge until the end of March, and beyond that date if the UK Government provides sufficient resources to allow that to happen.

Ms Sturgeon promised a phased move to a “more targeted system” of tests, focusing on high-risk settings such as care homes and hospitals as well as the rapid detection of new variants.