The difference was most stark on the issue of face coverings which, she said, would remain mandatory in Scotland “not just now, but in all likelihood, for some time to come.”
On Monday Mr. Johnson said that rules requiring masks would be scrapped in England, but that the government would recommend their use in crowded indoor places such as public transportation. Even that was a change in tone from Mr. Johnson and some of his ministers who had previously appeared more enthusiastic about ending the use of face coverings. And tabloid newspapers have campaigned for the end of restrictions, a moment they have anticipated as “freedom day.”
In a thinly veiled attack on Mr. Johnson’s policy on masks, Ms. Sturgeon said that “if a government believes that measures like this matter — and this government does — we should say so, we should do what is necessary to ensure compliance and we should be prepared to take any resulting flak.”
She added, pointedly: “We shouldn’t lift important restrictions to make our lives easier and then expect the public to take responsibility for doing the right thing anyway.”
Despite the caveats, Ms. Sturgeon said that infections in Scotland were falling sufficiently to allow all Scottish regions to move to the lowest tier of restrictions, known as Level 0, from Monday. This means that all shops, pubs, restaurants and other venues can open, except for nightclubs and adult entertainment. However, some social distancing rules will remain and hospitality venues will have to close at midnight.