Face mask laws to end in Scotland on a 'phased basis'
Scottish face covering laws will be phased out from Monday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Covid laws which require Scots to wear face masks on public transport and some other indoor public settings are to be removed.
This is despite daily infection levels north of the border still being "very high".
The number of people in hospital with the virus in Scotland has fallen slightly from the record high reported on Tuesday but the FM said there is a "cautious optimism" that the latest wave of the virus may have peaked.
From Monday it will no longer be a legal requirement to wear a face covering in places of worship or while attending a marriage ceremony, a civil partnership registration, a funeral service or commemorative event.
The wider legal requirement for wearing face masks - which applies to shops, public transport and some other indoor settings - will then be converted to guidance two weeks later on 18 April.
Nicola Sturgeon said the Government will "continue to encourage the wearing of face coverings in certain indoor places, especially where significant numbers of people are present".
She added: "This phased approach strikes a sensible balance between our desire to remove this one remaining legal measure and the common-sense need for continued caution - not least for the sake of the NHS - while this wave of infection subsides.
"I recognise that face coverings are an inconvenience. However, given all the sacrifice of the past two years and in view of the current pressure on the NHS, I believe the vast majority of people will accept that for a further two weeks this is a proportionate precautionary measure while we pass the peak of this latest wave.
"It also provides some further protection to those who are most at risk from the virus."