LONDON (Reuters) – Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon issued an apology on Wednesday after she was photographed at an indoor event without wearing a mask in breach of strict COVID-19 rules.
Sturgeon, the leader of the nationalist Scottish National Party, was pictured talking to a group of women in a pub following a funeral in Edinburgh last week without a face covering. The photo was published in Wednesday’s Scottish edition of the Sun newspaper.
“Last Friday, while attending a funeral wake, I had my mask off briefly. This was a stupid mistake and I’m really sorry,” Sturgeon said in a statement.
“I talk every day about the importance of masks, so I’m not going to offer any excuses. I was in the wrong, I’m kicking myself, and I’m sorry.”
Under the law in Scotland, people are required to wear masks in most indoor venues including pubs and restaurants and on Tuesday Sturgeon reminded the public of the importance of wearing masks when she spoke to the Scottish parliament.
The Scottish Conservatives, Scotland’s arm of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s ruling party, said Sturgeon should have known better and she had undermined the public health message.
“There cannot be one rule for Nicola Sturgeon and another for everyone else,” the Scottish Conservatives said on Twitter.
However, British housing minister Robert Jenrick was more forgiving.
“Lots of people make mistakes,” he told Sky News. “It’s never easy, we’re all human beings at the end of the day.”
(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by James Davey)