Regulations have been laid in Parliament today to extend the expiry date for statutory coronavirus (Covid-19) requirements, and enforcement powers for local authorities.
The regulations would extend the potential period in which statutory Covid requirements can be in force to 24 September 2022, beyond the existing expiry date of 28 February.
These include requirements on the use of face coverings, the vaccine certification scheme, and for businesses, service providers and places of worship to have regard to guidance, and to take reasonable measures to minimise incidence and spread of Covid.
Statutory Covid requirements remain subject to three-weekly review by Ministers and will next be reviewed on 22 February.
Ministers remain accountable to Parliament for all requirements and these can only be retained so long as they are considered necessary and proportionate to the pandemic response.
Regulations enabling Local Authorities to give directions in relation to businesses, premises, events and access to public outdoor places are also proposed for extension beyond their original expiry date of 25 March to 24 September 2022. These regulations will also continue to be subject to review every six weeks.
The regulations will now be scrutinised by MSPs.
Deputy First Minister and Covid Recovery Secretary John Swinney said:
“Following the lifting of Omicron restrictions, Ministers believe it is necessary to retain the availability of these baseline measures for now while we review our ongoing response to Covid.
“Taking steps now to extend these regulations does not mean that the regulations will necessarily remain in force until September, but will ensure they can continue for now, subject to three-weekly review in what is still an uncertain period of the pandemic.
“The Government is committed to regularly reviewing these regulations, as we are required to, and the continued removal of any measures considered no longer necessary. Further detail on how we manage the pandemic in future will be set out in an updated strategic framework, which we will publish before the end of the month.”