Face coverings on public transport – and for hospital staff, outpatients and visitors – will be compulsory in England from Monday.
This is in line with new World Health Organization (WHO) advice. It says non-medical face coverings should be worn in public where social distancing is not possible – including public transport.
What are the face covering rules on public transport?
Anyone travelling by bus, train, ferry or plane in England should wear a face covering from Monday – to help reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission.
The new rules coincide with a further easing of lockdown – including the return to class of some secondary school pupils and the reopening of non-essential retailers.
The number of people using public transport is expected to increase.
The government stresses people should:
- Continue home working if possible
- Avoid public transport if they can’t work from home
- Avoid the rush hour on public transport
Some passengers will be exempt from the new rules:
- Children aged under 11
- Disabled people
- Those with breathing difficulties
The rules will apply only on public transport – not while waiting – but the rail industry will ask people to cover their face as they enter a station.
People could be refused travel if they don’t follow the rules. They could also be fined, but this will be the last resort.
Where am I supposed to get a face covering?
The government has been careful to use the term “face covering” rather than “face mask”.
Transport Minister Grant Shapps said passengers should wear “the kind of face covering you can easily make at home” – with surgical masks kept for medical use.
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