Rules connected wearing look coverings successful Scotland could stay successful spot until Christmas, the lawman archetypal curate has said.
John Swinney told BBC Scotland it was "perfectly conceivable" that masks could inactive beryllium mandatory successful December.
On Tuesday, the archetypal curate confirmed mask-wearing would stay for "some time" arsenic she announced the determination to level zero of Covid restrictions.
Nicola Sturgeon modified planned easing owed to the dispersed of the Delta variant.
Scotland volition determination to level zero connected 19 July which means much radical volition beryllium allowed to conscionable indoors and be weddings and funerals.
However, limits connected outdoor meetings are to beryllium maintained and the instrumentality of workers to offices volition besides beryllium delayed.
In an interrogation connected BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime, Mr Swinney was asked if helium could envisaged look coverings being mandatory until Christmas.
He said: "I deliberation that's perfectly conceivable. I deliberation that we should recognise that we person got to instrumentality a cautious and cautious attack to the suppression of Covid.
"We cognize the microorganism is going to beryllium with america for a agelong clip truthful the much that we tin do, a gradual simple level to supply obstacles and barriers to the circulation of this virus, the much we should bash that."
Mr Swinney besides revealed Scottish authorities modelling predicts that Scotland could grounds betwixt 2,500 and 10,500 caller Covid cases connected the time restrictions moves to level zero.
He added: "I deliberation it is apt to beryllium overmuch person to that little extremity of the spectrum than the higher end."
He said the interaction of the microorganism was "moving successful the close absorption - which means that we tin spend immoderate of the relaxation".
It is inactive hoped that Scotland volition determination beyond level zero from 9 August - the constituent astatine which the authorities aimed to scrap astir ineligible restrictions. A determination connected this volition beryllium taken adjacent month.
Among different announcements successful Ms Sturgeon's connection to Holyrood were plans to region the broad request for adjacent contacts of those who trial affirmative to self-isolate, arsenic agelong arsenic they person had 2 doses of vaccine.
In addition, fully-vaccinated radical returning from amber database countries volition not request to quarantine arsenic agelong arsenic they instrumentality a trial aft arrival.
'Like Groundhog Day'
Business groups person broadly welcomed the changes, but immoderate were captious of ministers "moving the goalposts" astatine the past infinitesimal by altering plans, specified arsenic hospitality venues present being required to adjacent astatine midnight.
Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said: "The midnight curfew is conscionable a made-up clip with nary grounds to warrant it.
"It's similar Groundhog Day with our warnings astir driving radical into location parties and different uncontrolled spaces that deficiency each the precautions you find successful liable pubs, restaurants and hotels."
The Federation of Small Businesses Scotland said nary longer requiring radical to publication a slot successful a barroom oregon edifice "should hopefully make immoderate other passing trade", but said determination was "less bully news" for the events assemblage with outdoor restrictions to continue.
The Scottish Chambers of Commerce said the determination to level zero was "another encouraging milestone", but said the modifications to plans would origin uncertainty - and said postponing the instrumentality to offices would beryllium "a bitter stroke for employees and employers alike".
The continued wearing of facemasks won the backing of store idiosyncratic national Usdaw.
Tracy Gilbert, the union's determination caput for Scotland, said: "We inquire the nationalist to amusement their enactment and respect for store workers by pursuing the law.
"Wearing a look covering successful a store is an important measurement to assistance support workers who person nary enactment but to interact with ample numbers of radical arsenic a portion of their job."