Justice Secretary Keith Brown stated that any abuse directed at bar and retail staff asking customers to follow the law and cover their faces will not be tolerated.

It is still a legal requirement that you cover your face in shops, pubs, and public transport. Unless exempted, Mr Brown stated that any abuse, threats, or violence suffered by workers simply for doing their job is “completely unacceptable”.

Last month, new powers in Scotland made assaulting, threatening and abusing staff a separate offence. These acts were previously dealt with under more general offenses.

As Scotland continues to be plagued by high levels of infection, Mr Brown encouraged people to respect staff and follow the rules.

He stated that he would like to express gratitude to the majority of people who still wear face covers and to remind them to follow the guidelines and rules. Face coverings are still required in public indoor places such as shops and public transport.

“Everyone should cover their face because it is an essential and simple way to prevent the spread of the deadly virus.

“Retail workers and people working in hospitality have a crucial role to play in our communities, as has been demonstrated during the pandemic. It’s vital that they understand they are protected by the law when they carry out their duties.”

“Any abuse, threats, or violence that such workers face as a result simply doing their jobs is totally unacceptable and will not tolerated.”

“Parliament has recently introduced a standalone law that can punish this kind of behavior with fines upto PS10,000 and up to 12 months imprisonment. Staff serving communities in Scotland can rest assured that the police and prosecution services are ready to respond to any situation.

Ruth Charteris, Solicitor General of Scotland, QC stated: “People from all walks of life should expect to be able to go about their daily lives without fear of threats or abuse.”

“This is true for shop workers who are protected under law and deserve our appreciation and thanks for their work throughout the pandemic.”