NICOLA Sturgeon last night said she was “kicking herself” after breaking her own Covid laws by failing to wear a mask in a bar.
Scotland’s First Minister was seen chatting to three women as she stood up at an Edinburgh venue after a funeral last Friday.
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Nicola Sturgeon broke her own Covid laws by failing to wear a face mask in a pub
The First Minister admitted she had made a ‘stupid mistake’Credit: Getty – Pool
Drinkers in Scotland must wear a face covering in bars unless seated.
Ms Sturgeon — who repeated rules on covering up during a speech yesterday — said of her gaffe in Edinburgh: “This was a stupid mistake and I’m really sorry.”
The First Minister admitted she was “kicking herself” and said she was “in the wrong” and had no excuses after breaching her own Covid rules.
It came after The Scottish Sun obtained a photo of the Nats leader standing and chatting to three elderly women following a funeral last week in Mortonhall, Edinburgh.
Under a law passed by SNP ministers, customers in hospitality settings must cover up unless seated at a table.
After we flagged up the snap to the Scottish Government, Ms Sturgeon said: “Last Friday, while attending a funeral wake, I had my mask off briefly.
“I talk every day about the importance of masks, so I’m not going to offer any excuses. I was in the wrong, I’m kicking myself and I’m sorry.”
The photograph showing Ms Sturgeon leaning on the back of a chair with her left hand was taken at the Stable Bar and Restaurant.
The First Minister was at the venue following a funeral of a senior Scottish Government civil servant at nearby Mortonhall Crematorium. She is pictured without a mask while looking towards the table of pensioners.
Ms Sturgeon repeated rules on covering up during a speech yesterdayCredit: Getty – Pool
An onlooker at the pub said they were shocked to have spotted the top Nat not covering up.
The mandatory use of face masks for customers in hospitality settings has been law since September 14. It is now set down in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.
Schedule 7 of the law details a “requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor places”, including restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs.
An exemption says a mask does not need to be worn if a person is “in a restaurant, cafe, bar or public house and seated at a table”.
An onlooker at the pub said they were shockedCredit: 2020 Mark Ferguson
The venue’s function room — where the First Minister was said to be before she spoke to the women — is several paces away.
As with other Covid laws, breaches are punishable by a fixed penalty notice of £60, which is reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days. Penalties double for repeat offences, up to £960.
But people can also be prosecuted for breaches, with unlimited fines.
The law states: “A person who commits an offence under this regulation is liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum.”
The photo emerged as Ms Sturgeon again underlined the importance of face coverings today.
She told MSPs in a Holyrood statement that the new aggressive strain of coronavirus “seems to transmit more easily but it can still be stopped in its tracks by the FACTS advice we have emphasised so many times before”.
She then listed what each letter of the FACTS acronym stands for — starting with “Face coverings”. The First Minister was seen wearing a mask going into the chamber today.
On September 10, Ms Sturgeon announced in parliament that face coverings would become mandatory in bars, cafes and restaurants four days later.
Hospitality premises had previously been exempt from the law on coverings, which applies in other places such as shops.
At her daily Covid briefing on September 11, the First Minister highlighted the importance of face coverings in hospitality.
She said: “It’s actually an additional protection that hopefully makes it less likely we will have to see hospitality close in any area.”
On September 14, Ms Sturgeon said at her media briefing: “It is now mandatory for customers in those settings to wear face coverings when they are not eating or drinking.
“For example, when you go into the premises and go to your table, or when you stand up to move around to go to the bathroom.”
And at the same briefing, she read out her “FACTS rules”, insisting they “can help all of us keep the virus under better control”.
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