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The SNP leader apologised after being pictured violating coronavirus restrictions in a pub. Photographs released by The Scottish Sun showed Ms Sturgeon speaking to a number of elderly people in the Stable Bar and Restaurant whilst not wearing a protective mask.
Under Scottish Government law patrons in pubs and restaurants are required to wear face masks at all times unless they are sitting down, which the SNP chief wasn’t in the pictures.
The incident took place in Edinburgh after the nationalist politician attended the funeral of a senior Scottish civil servant.
In response the hashtag #ResignSturgeon began trending nationally across the UK.
The Majority, a group which campaigns for Scotland to remain in the UK, called on Ms Sturgeon to step down in a tweet referencing the Scottish Government’s ‘FACTS’ advice for fighting coronavirus.
#ResignSturgeon has been trending on UK Twitter
“This was a stupid mistake and I’m really sorry”
They tweeted: “The FACTS are #ResignSturgeon.”
The first part of the ‘FACTS’ advice refers to the importance of wearing face coverings.
Jennifer, a Scottish Twitter user with 16,800 followers, echoed the call for Ms Sturgeon to stand aside.
She posted: “If you make the law, requiring millions of people to change their lives or face a fine, you need to follow the law, or resign. That’s politics.”
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“Just another politician who thinks the rules don’t apply to them”
Another user added: “Just another politician who thinks the rules don’t apply to them #ResignSturgeon.”
Ms Sturgeon released a statement apologising for her actions.
She said: “Last Friday, while attending a funeral wake, I had my mask off briefly.
“This was a stupid mistake and I’m really sorry.
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It is a legal requirement to wear face masks in Scottish pubs when not sitting down
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“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.”
Ms Sturgeon’s actions breached Schedule 7 of Scotland’s Health Protection (coronavirus) act which states unless you are “seated at a table” you must “wear face coverings in certain indoor places” including pubs and restaurants.
Those who breach this rule can be fined £60, though this falls to £30 if the culprit pays within 28 days.
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It is not yet known whether Ms Sturgeon will be asked to pay this penalty.
In October SNP MP Margaret Ferrier was suspended from the party for travelling from London to Scotland despite having tested positive for coronavirus.
However, she is currently refusing to step down from Parliament.
A number of social media users disagreed that Ms Sturgeon should resign over the breach.
Scotland voted to remain part of the UK in 2014
She commented: “Nicola Sturgeon has been one of the only politicians to act with integrity throughout this pandemic.
“Imagine thinking she should resign over briefing taking off a mask to talk to older people at a funeral.
“Whoever took that photo should be ashamed of themselves.”
Another added: “Should Sturgeon resign for what she’s done by itself, no.
“Should she resign for the hypocrisy of telling everyone to do one thing, then doing the opposite…? That’s a different question.”