Around 90% of Tele readers are sticking to Scottish Government guidelines by wearing a mask or face covering when shopping.
More than 1,000 people voted in our poll, asking if people were adhering to the rules set in place by Holyrood on July 10.
The issue has sparked wide debate among the public, with some claiming masks are not providing protection from Covid-19.
Tele columnist Ewan Gurr announced he would not be wearing a mask, describing the advice as “ill informed” and quoted Dr Jenny Harries, Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, who said “their use could potentially lead to contamination and the transfer of coronavirus”.
However, wearing a face covering will become mandatory in shops and supermarkets in England from this Friday, July 24.
Of the 1,042 people who voted in our poll, 76.3% (795 people) said they have always worn a mask in shops and on public transport since the rules came into effect.
A further 12.96% (135 people) said they have purchased masks and have always tried to use them, but had forgotten to, on occasion.
There were, however, 10.74% (112 individuals) who voted, saying they had not worn a mask and did not intend to.
Certain people, including those with particular underlying medical conditions or disabilities, and children under five, are exempt in Scotland.
Some have pointed out that people in pubs and restaurants do not have to cover their faces, making the rules seemingly unbalanced. The Scottish Government website says “wearing face coverings for customers is not practical in an eating and drinking environment”.
From both anecdotal feedback and my own observation from a quick visit to a couple of shops earlier, making face coverings mandatory has resulted in close to 100% compliance. Well done, Scotland – let’s keep it up.
— Nicola Sturgeon (@NicolaSturgeon) July 12, 2020
While some Tele poll respondents said they were exempt from wearing a mask due to health reasons including asthma and COPD, others said they were not wearing masks for different reasons.
In Scotland, anyone not wearing one can be fined £60 – reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days – for a first offence.
One reader said: “Won’t be in shops until I can do so without wearing a mask. Will also avoid public transport. I note whilst we are required to wear masks in Tesco, you can sit in a busy pub without one. Crazy.”
However, another person disagreed, saying: “Wearing masks is not a complete solution, but it’s a help.
“It does only give some slight protection against being infected, but if you have the virus you can pass it on before you even realise you have it, and face coverings do help stop that, both by the filtering effect, and by stopping the jets of air from coughs, sneezes and just breathing out from travelling far.”
However a former infection control nurse said masks only stop you infecting other people, if you are infected. Only a PPF3 mask protects the wearer.
He said: “Gloves are most important as the virus is contagious, which means contact. You must know how to remove gloves safely, then gel your hands. I have not had a virus for over eight years.”
A Scottish Government spokesman said for those not exempt it is now mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport and in shops and other retail outlets to minimise the spread of Covid-19.
He added: “We expect face coverings to be worn when in an enclosed public space where it is difficult to maintain two metres physical distance, and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people you do not usually meet.”
“The guidance on the use of face coverings makes clear that it may not be appropriate for those who have a health condition or are disabled to wear a face covering and, as the First Minister has said, no one should be abused or treated in an unacceptable way and those exempt under the regulations should not be made to wear a face covering or denied access to shops.
“Retailers can ask people to wear a face covering, but should be understanding when people tell them they are exempt and we do not expect staff to enforce the wearing of face coverings.”