Scottish Leader Nicola Sturgeon Apologizes After Being Caught Maskless At Bar, Breaking Her Own COVID-19 Rule

(Photo by Jane Barlow-Pool/Getty Images)

Marlo Safi Culture Reporter
Font Size:

Scotland’s first minister apologized after being caught not wearing a mask at a funeral wake, defying her own COVID-19 restrictions, numerous sources reported.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon apologized for not wearing a mask while talking to multiple people inside an Edinburgh bar after a funeral for a civil servant Friday, the BBC reported. A member of the public shared the photos, which captured Sturgeon in a public part of the venue, with the Scottish Sun.

Sturgeon apologized Thursday for breaking the “rules that I ask all of us to follow,” calling it a “stupid mistake.”

“I want to be clear that regardless of the circumstances, I was in the wrong. There are no excuses,” Sturgeon said while addressing the Scottish parliament. “These rules do apply to me, just as they do to everyone else, and the rules really matter.”

Sturgeon vowed to be more mindful about wearing her mask.

Sturgeon made wearing a mask mandatory in Scotland in October. People are required by law to wear masks in indoor communal workplaces and social spaces, including bars and restaurants. Penalties for breaking the mask rule can include a £60 fine, or $80. Scotland’s police said they would not be penalizing Sturgeon, however, noting that she had apologized and recognized her mistake. 

Sturgeon has considered a strict travel ban in Scotland with Christmas approaching, potentially prohibiting people from traveling between Scotland and the rest of the U.K. to prevent COVID-19 spread, according to The Scotsman. Currently, travel is illegal between council areas — which are similar to counties — in Scotland where COVID-19 is spreading more rapidly. The law is enforceable, meaning that police can issue fines, and for repeat offenders, the penalty can surge up to £960, or about $1,293. 

Most of Scotland is expected to fall under Level 4 restrictions come Saturday, and Sturgeon said that it’s possible that advice to stay home will be made law. 

Sturgeon is one of several leaders responsible for pushing strict pandemic restrictions but that have been caught flouting them. Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom dined at the upscale Napa restaurant The French Laundry and was pictured maskless in an enclosed room in November, despite urging Californians to wear masks “in between bites” while dining. 

Democratic San Francisco Mayor London Breed had also dined at the restaurant one day after Newsom in a partially enclosed room three days before banning indoor dining in her city. (RELATED: Mayor Dined At French Laundry One Night After Newsom — Three Days Before She Banned Indoor Dining In San Francisco)