Thursday, 29 Jul 2021

As England speeds ahead on its reopening, Scotland is moving cautiously.

By Stephen Castle

LONDON — The day after Prime Minister Boris Johnson set England on course for “freedom day” next week, Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on Tuesday outlined more cautious plans to relax coronavirus rules and said face masks would still be required for “some time to come.”

While England embarks on a wholesale lifting of its remaining restrictions on Monday, people in Scotland will still be urged to work from home, face restrictions on the size of gatherings and be obliged to wear face coverings in indoor spaces, including public transportation.

Throughout the pandemic Ms. Sturgeon has taken a more cautious approach than Mr. Johnson, prioritizing heath over the economy and invariably adopting tougher restrictions, and her announcement on Tuesday was no exception.

“A gradual approach stands the best chance of minimizing further health harm and loss of life,” Ms. Sturgeon told a virtual meeting of the Scottish Parliament, adding that “because a gradual approach stands the best chance of being a sustainable approach it will be better in the long term for the economy as well.”

The difference was most stark on the issue of face coverings which, she said, would remain mandatory in Scotland “not just now, but in all likelihood, for some time to come.”

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