Hypocrisy among elected officials when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions they advocated for and put into place is enough to drive citizens crazy, and no population is likely experiencing that more today than the people in Scotland.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, the head of nation's government, was caught violating her own COVID-19 law, and now she's issuing public apologies for the flub.
Join the club
The notion of "COVID rules for thee, but not for me" is something Americans have witnessed repeatedly from their politicians. The problem has been especially notable recently as the surge in the virus has led to more government-imposed restrictions.
- No one will forget California Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom's unmasked event at a fancy California restaurant.
- Nor will folks from the Bay Area likely let news of San Francisco Democratic Mayor London Breed throwing a maskless party at the same restaurant a day later slip their minds.
- Denver's Democratic mayor, Michael Hancock, will long be remembered as the elected official who tweeted a warning to Mile High City residents to stay home for Thanksgiving just 30 minutes before his plane left to visit his daughter in Mississippi for the holiday.
- New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo was caught violating his own Thanksgiving advice by planning to have his 89-year-old mother over for dinner. He was shamed into rescinding the invitation.
- Austin Mayor Steve Adler, a Democrat, was forced to apologize after having the audacity to filming and sending a "stay at home" message to his constituents — from a tropical resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
- And just a week ago, Rhode Island Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo was photographed at a wine bar not wearing a face mask days after telling Rhode Islanders to "stay home except for essential activities."
It turns out, though, that embarrassing and glaring hypocrisy on COVID-19 restrictions is not a characteristic unique to U.S. officials.
What did the Scotland leader do?
The Scottish Sun reported Tuesday night that Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon broke her own mask laws Friday.
A "concerned member of the public" photographed Sturgeon chatting maskless at a pub in Edinburgh on Friday and shared the picture with the newspaper.
According to current Scottish laws, the Sun said, customers in "hospitality settings" — which would include pubs — are required to wear a mask unless seated at a table.
The photo published by the Sun showed a maskless Sturgeon standing and talking with three elderly women at the "hospitality setting" following a funeral wake that had taken place in another part of the facility.
Sturgeon, who has been a major advocate for masks and has repeatedly lectured about their importance, was extremely apologetic.
"Last Friday, while attending a funeral wake, I had my mask off briefly. This was a stupid mistake and I'm really sorry," she told the Sun. "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."
According to the Sun, the law has been on the books for months:
The mandatory use of face masks for customers in hospitality settings has been law since September 14. It is now set down in the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.
Schedule 7 of the law details a “requirement to wear face coverings in certain indoor places", including restaurants, cafes, bars and pubs.
Violations of the law are punishable by an $80 fine, and penalties double for repeat offenders, up to $1,300, the paper said, adding that violators "can also be prosecuted for breaches, with unlimited fines."
Around the time the photo was taken, Sturgeon also announced a draconian three-week lockdown that will start the day after Christmas.
She also ordered that Scots can meet with loved ones for Christmas for only 24 hours on Dec. 25.