Misuse of “necessary and proportionate”, specifically in relation to face coverings as a legal requirement

Throughout the entire pandemic, the focus on masks has been completely disproportionate to the impact they can have. No government should be able to impose legal restrictions in the guise of public health measures apparently largely based on behavioural science. Under the emergency powers of the Coronavirus Bill, the SG decides which measures are necessary and proportionate, i.e. lawful. There is no scrutiny. There is no challenge. And there is no proper evidence or honest justification offered for the decisions made. Instead we are told, for example: The Scottish Government believes it is important … Most people I speak to agree that it is small price to pay … It's a minor inconvenience … It’s a small thing … … a number of ppl will be anxious too. That is why we are retaining important baseline mitigations such as wearing face coverings … Stop moaning and keep your masks on … Making face coverings mandatory in virtually all indoor settings has never been proportionate, not when any potential difference they may make as used in the community is so slight and when they cause such harm and difficulty for so many people. And it is certainly not proportionate now that such a high percentage of the public has been vaccinated. To say that it’s a small extra thing that might help so we may as well do it is simply not good enough. The SG has acknowledged that it is no longer lawful i.e. necessary and proportionate, to retain physical distancing as a legal requirement. The SG has always maintained that face coverings are not a replacement for physical distancing. Yet somehow it is still lawful, necessary and proportionate to retain face coverings as a legal requirement. The SG may now call the wearing of face coverings a baseline mitigation, but this is still a legal restriction. The other baseline mitigations are advice/guidance.

Why the contribution is important

Some groups of people are being excluded from everyday life, their voices not heard and not listened to and their concerns and difficulties dismissed, regardless of all the talk of considering the four harms. This cannot be allowed to happen again. Those of us who cannot wear a face covering or for whom it is much, much more than the minor inconvenience that the SG seem to think currently still have a very restricted existence with few restored freedoms. Society may have reopened for many or even most, but for some of us most of everyday life is still illegal and/or thoroughly unpleasant and therefore effectively still closed. Moreover, there would appear to be no end in sight (for a further period, for some time, for the foreseeable future, every winter, forever?).

by ASD on September 29, 2021 at 05:14PM

Current Rating

Average rating: 5.0
Based on: 15 votes


  • Posted by ACM September 29, 2021 at 18:52

    I couldn’t agree more. Wearing a face mask is unbearable for some people, but many don’t want to risk abuse if they don’t wear one. If you think it’s ‘no big deal’ you’re extremely lucky!
  • Posted by Julie September 29, 2021 at 19:02

    When will these restrictions end? For those of us who find wearing a face mask problematic these rules make life a misery and restrict what we can and cannot do. While the government states that there are exemptions, in reality they make no difference as those who cannot wear a mask have the stark choice between be bullied in public settings or simply staying at home.
  • Posted by RachelBlackburn September 29, 2021 at 19:33

    I agree they have been an absolutely disproportionate response especially in schools and have made no difference to Covid spread but caused many harms. And when will the mandate end? I'm going on holiday to England later this year and one of the main things I'm looking forward to is not seeing masks everywhere I go and not having me and my family hassled about why we are not wearing masks. We need an end date for masks and the idea that this could be the end of February next year at the earliest as Humza Yousef suggested is abhorrent.
  • Posted by Brenda7657 September 29, 2021 at 19:41

    Totally agree
  • Posted by AlisonL123 September 29, 2021 at 20:20

    100% agree
  • Posted by SDrysdale September 29, 2021 at 22:04

    Couldn't agree more. The government should have no right telling you to restrict your breathing. It's unreal that we are still being made to wear these filthy rags when there is no evidence to support their effectiveness, and worse, they have been politicized as being the symbol for caring. The whole thing is disgusting. They are only a symbol of control.
  • Posted by Jacky September 30, 2021 at 17:37

    Whilst I understand why face masks are required, there is no monitoring of this, noone is allowed to challenge anyone, further more and more people are not wearing masks so why bother. I struggle to wear a mask but do it because it's law, but would like this reviewed asap
  • Posted by jenga135 September 30, 2021 at 22:39

    Definitely agree
  • Posted by nora September 30, 2021 at 23:40

    Cloth and disposable face masks worn in the community have not been shown to have clear efficacy at all, however undoubtedly cause great harms to many people. Real world data shows no correlation between mask mandates and Sars Cov 2 infection over the last 18 months. If we go back to summer 2020 the WHO basically admitted that their u-turn on recommending mask mandates was due to political pressure rather than solid public health protocols. Moreover the many harms of longterm mask wearing clearly outweigh any benefits and it is entirely unacceptable for these mandates to continue despite the vaccination roll out and the break in cases and serious outcomes.
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