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Coronavirus: Face coverings mandatory from Monday

face mask covering  public transport London tube

Business travellers and commuters are being reminded that from Monday (June 15) they will be required to wear a face covering on public transport.

The Government changed its advice on the wearing of face coverings on public transport in England, last week.

It has recommended wearing a face covering when in an enclosed space where social distancing is not possible since the beginning of May.

Examples it gave at the time, included short periods indoors in crowded areas, such as when using public transport or visiting some shops. However, the Government is only making the wearing of face coverings mandatory on public transport.

It says that people using public transport may be more likely to be in enclosed spaces for longer periods of time, where there is a greater risk of the spread of the virus and social distancing is likely to be difficult to follow consistently. This differs from enclosed spaces like shops, for example, where people can more easily go outside if social distancing is not possible and where shop owners can place limits on the number of customers allowed inside at any one time.

Transport for London (TfL) said customers must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for their entire journey, including in stations, unless they are exempt.

These include people who have trouble breathing, children and anyone who finds it difficult to manage them correctly. 

Additionally, it says that face coverings should be worn by everyone in taxi and private hire vehicles for the duration of their journey.  

Since Monday (June 8) around 30,000 face coverings have been distributed during the morning peak and TfL has seen an increase in their usage across the network.

In the capital, from Monday (June 15), hundreds of officers from the Met and British Transport Police, as well TfL’s own enforcement officers will be helping customers to comply with the new requirement, explaining what they are and helping them to access one of the free face coverings TfL is providing during the introductory period.

They will also explain to customers how everyone on the network benefits from the widespread use of face coverings.

Once TfL is confident customers understand the new requirements, enforcement, which may include being refused entry or being fined, will start.

Staff are not required to wear a face covering when they are not in public areas, which could include the driver’s cab, control rooms or working in maintenance areas.

Mike Brown MVO, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: "It’s extremely important for everyone to wear a face covering when on the transport network to protect fellow passengers and staff.

"Making face coverings mandatory comes in addition to other measures designed to maintain social distancing, such stickers and signage, limits on the number of people carried by buses, hand sanitisers and extensive and enhanced cleaning of all vehicles.

"Please continue to work from home if possible and avoid public transport to create space for those who have no other means of travelling. Please also consider walking or cycling all or part of your journey."

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