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Transport operators ‘asked’ to make face coverings mandatory

Subject: Coronavirus emergency

image of a face mask

The Government is asking operators of transport by bus, coach, train, tram, ferry and aircraft to require passengers to wear face coverings from 15 June.

To reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 when the next stage of easing restrictions begins, from 15 June passengers on public transport using bus, coach, train, tram, ferry and aircraft will be required to wear a face covering during their journey to help reduce the risk of transmission.

Wherever possible people should continue to avoid public transport and walk, cycle or drive, but for some people this may not be an option. Transport usage has been slowly increasing with travel on the tube in London increasing by around a 20% compared to last week. On public transport social distancing is likely to be difficult to follow consistently and people are more likely to be in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time with the consequent increased risk of the spread of the virus. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) has set out that using face coverings in this setting can provide some small additional protection to fellow passengers and can help people to avoid unknowingly spreading the virus if they are suffering from coronavirus, but not showing symptoms.

The changes will be made under legislation such as the National Rail Conditions of Travel and Public Service Vehicle Regulations for buses. While the government expects the vast majority of people to comply with the changes, operators will be able to refuse travel or issue penalty fines for those who fail to wear a face covering, in a similar way to the rules on having a ticket for travel. British Transport Police will also support the implementation of these changes


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