WEARING facemasks while on public transport across the UK will become compulsory as from June 15 as part of new measures introduced by the government to protect public health as it eases the coronavirus lockdown.
Over recent weeks, the government has gradually lifted some of the restrictions put in place in the wake of the pandemic and is gradually moving back towards normality. As part of these changes, people will be expected to resume work fully soon, which will in turn mean public transport become as busy as ever.
To prevent the spread of the virus on London’s normally packed public transport, face coverings will become mandatory with effect from Monday, June 15. In London it will apply to London Underground trains, buses, National Rail trains and trams and will be enforced elsewhere across the country.
Passengers will be barred from public transport without a face covering and fines will be imposed on people who break the rule. Transport secretary Grant Shapps, said that the use of public transport is expected to rise later this month as some secondary school pupils are expected to return to their classrooms and non-essential shops will be allowed to reopen on June 15.
Mr Shapps said: “There will be exceptions to these rules for disabled people, for children and those with breathing difficulties. Broadly, as we come into this phase, we’re doing what many other countries have asked transport users to do.
“As passenger numbers increase and we expect this trend to continue, we need to ensure every precaution is taken on buses, trains, aircraft and on ferries. The kind of mask you can easily make at home will be permitted.”
London mayor Sadiq Khan, added: “I encourage anyone travelling on public transport, or anywhere you can’t keep a safe two-metre distance, to wear a face covering but from Monday, June 15, everyone must wear a covering over their nose and mouth for the entirety of any journeys made using the public transport network.”
Tube drivers have welcomed the news, with Aslef, their trade union calling it a sensible step. Aslef general secretary Mike Wheelan said: “The instruction to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus will ease the concerns of people travelling and working on the transport network.”