The UK government has announced that face coverings will now be required when using public transport in England from 15 June.
The transport secretary Grant Shapps said the government is asking operators to introduce face coverings as a passenger requirement when travelling on buses, coaches, trains, trams, ferries and aircraft.
He said the government will work closely with the transport industry to help them implement the plans, and ensure that their staff are provided with, and wear face coverings, where appropriate for their role.
The changes will be made under legislation, such as the National Rail Conditions of Travel and Public Service Vehicle Regulations for buses.
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, and the British Transport Police will also be supporting the implementation of these changes.
“People should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible, but, as restrictions are carefully eased when it’s safe to do so, it’s likely that we will see more people needing to use public transport,” commented Grant.
“So, while respecting social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene remain the most important steps we can all take to stay safe, wearing a face covering can play a role in helping us to protect each other.
“This is about the small changes we can take to help control the virus, which is why I urge everyone using transport to wear a face covering to help keep us all safer.”
The UK government has reiterated that face coverings are not the same as face masks, and that it’s important that people don’t use medical grade PPE masks to ensure these remain available for frontline staff.
To find out more about how to make and decorate face masks, and the availability of ready-made masks from the industry’s main suppliers, check out our June issue at imagesmag.uk/FaceMasks.