Coronavirus: Brits told to wear face masks on public transport or face a fine
The UK government is making face coverings compulsory on all forms of public transport.
Masks will be made mandatory for anyone in England wanting to use public transport, including the Tube, buses and trains from 15 June onwards.
Travellers will be refused access to public transport if they do not comply with these rules, which have been put in place to reduce the spread of coronavirus, as more people head back to work.
The government has said face coverings should be worn on trains, underground trains, buses, ferries and planes. But people won’t have to wear them inside railway stations or at bus terminals.
UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said tonight: “I can announce that as of Monday 15 June, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport.
“The evidence suggests that wearing a face mask offers some, limited protection. It’s a condition of travel. You cannot travel if you are not wearing a face covering.”
However, there will be exemptions for anyone with breathing difficulties and young children.
The new rule will also not apply to people entering shops, despite the current guidance saying face coverings should be worn in enclosed public places.
The government says that surgical-grade masks should be reserved for those on the front line. Instead, members of the public should cover their faces with a home-made or cloth face mask. Finder has published a guide on how to make your own mask.
The new rule applies only in England; as devolved nations, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can set their own rules and guidance on whether and when the public should wear face coverings.
The news comes after Brits were advised last month to start wearing a mask if they could not maintain social distancing in public places.
Calls for face coverings to be made compulsory were made in April when London mayor Sadiq Khan pushed for guidance on their use on the Tube and on buses in London.
The Department of Health has said that, after considering the latest scientific advice from its SAGE group, face coverings can help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
The department stressed that the evidence shows face coverings can stop you from passing coronavirus on to others if you are asymptomatic or have yet to develop symptoms.
However, the government has warned that for face coverings to be effective, people must wash their hands before putting them on and taking them off, and continue to social distance.
As ever, the coronavirus advice guidance from Public Health England remains the same.
The guidelines are:
- Limit contact with other people.
- Keep your distance and if you go out, keep two metres away from others.
- Wash your hands regularly.
- Self-isolate if you or anyone in your household has symptoms.