Scotland’s First Minister Apologises for Not Wearing Mask at Wake

By Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Simon Veazey
Freelance Reporter
Simon Veazey is a UK-based journalist who has reported for The Epoch Times since 2006 on various beats, from in-depth coverage of British and European politics to web-based writing on breaking news.
December 23, 2020Updated: December 23, 2020

Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has apologized for not wearing a mask at a funeral wake—an apparent breach of CCP virus regulations that carries a potential £60 on-the-spot fine.

A picture showing Sturgeon without a mask at the wake was published in The Scottish Sun yesterday.

“Last Friday, while attending a funeral wake, I had my mask off briefly,” Sturgeon told The Sun. “This was a stupid mistake and I’m really sorry.”

“I talk every day about the importance of masks so I’m not going to offer any excuses,” she added. “I was in the wrong, I’m kicking myself, and I’m sorry.”

She had been at the Stable Bar and Restaurant after attending a funeral for a Scottish government civil servant, according to The Sun.

The photograph shows her standing leaning on the back of a chair, apparently talking to people who appear to be sitting about two metres away.

Regulations in Scotland require people “to wear face coverings in certain indoor places.” Those places include restaurants, cafes, bars, and pubs. However, that requirement is lifted for people seated at a table.

Police can mete out a £60 fine on the spot for violations of the regulations. The fine drops to £30 if paid early.

Sturgeon’s political rivals, the Scottish Conservatives, said in a statement on Twitter: “The first minister should know better. By forgetting the rules and failing to set a proper example, she’s undermining essential public health messaging. There cannot be one rule for Nicola Sturgeon and another for everyone else.”

Epoch Times Photo
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon arrives to update MSPs on any changes to the COVID-19 five-level system in Scotland at the parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh, on Dec. 15, 2020. (Andrew Milligan – Pool/Getty Images)

Humza Yousaf, the Scottish justice secretary, defended his colleague.

“She has apologised for the accidental lapse [and] I suspect most of us have had one over the last nine months,” he wrote on Twitter. “I’ve known her for 15 years and she is her harshest critic. I am sure people will understand, accept her apology, and move on.”

Other supporters of Sturgeon downplayed any comparison with the behaviour of Downing Street adviser Dominic Cummings during the first national lockdown, or with MP Margaret Ferrier, who in September travelled from Westminster to Glasgow via train knowing she had tested positive for the virus and spoke in the House of Commons while she awaited her test results.

Ferrier was suspended from Sturgeon’s Scottish National Party.

Ferrier, who is the MP for Rutherglen and Hamilton West, was tested on Sept. 26 in Scotland due to a “tickly throat.”

While she waited for her results, she reportedly attended a local church. She then took the train to London, where she spoke in the House of Commons that evening shortly before learning of her positive test.

London police dropped an investigation into the matter in October, stating that relevant legal restrictions on self-isolation had come into force after her test.

England and Scotland have enacted different regulations to try to control the spread of the CCP virus.

Police Scotland said in October that they would consult with the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service before “taking a decision on next steps” regarding Ferrier. They have given no further update.