Last reviewed 6 July 2021

The Scottish Government has made a U-turn and removed a new requirement for care home residents in Scotland to wear face masks.

The guidance, which was issued on 7 June, required care home residents to wear a disposable face mask (FRSM) from 25 June when receiving personal care or in communal spaces of the care home, unless they were exempt.

Care Home Relatives Scotland called the mask-wearing policy an “unacceptable form of control and restraint”.

Announcing the removal of the requirement, Scotland's Chief Nursing Officer Amanda Croft said: “The Scottish Government and I apologise to care home staff, residents and their friends and family for the confusion caused by our guidance. We have listened and acted to clarify and update it.”

Responding to anger from families and care homes, the new guidance, updated on 23 June, states: “Residents in a care home are not required to wear a FRSM or face covering within the care home, which is first and foremost their own home.

“It is a resident’s choice whether to wear one as an additional layer of protection, and all times the needs and choices of care home residents should be the primary consideration.”

It goes on to say: “Residents in an adult care homes are encouraged to wear a FRSM, where this can be tolerated and will not negatively impact on their health or wellbeing or compromise the level of care provided to them, when they are in communal spaces without physical distancing measures in place or when receiving direct care - when this will not compromise the care activity taking place”.

Coronavirus (Covid-19): Use of Face Coverings in Social Care Settings Including Adult Care Homes is available here.