Covid: Masks to remain compulsory on London transport
Health / Wed 14th Jul 2021 at 06:52am
FACE coverings must be worn on London’s transport network despite restrictions easing on 19 July, London’s mayor says reports the BBC.
Sadiq Khan said he was not prepared to put Tube, tram and other transport users at risk by relaxing the rules on face coverings.
Face masks have been mandatory on public transport for the past year to reduce the spread of the virus.
But those rules will be replaced with government guidance advising passengers to wear masks only on busy services.
England is removing most of its Covid restrictions next Monday, and while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he expects masks to be worn in crowded places, such as on a busy Tube train, their use will no longer be compulsory.
But Mr Khan has gone further and made it a condition of carriage for the Tube, bus, tram, DLR, Overground and TfL Rail.
This means that, despite the easing of restrictions on 19 July, it will be listed as a condition in a legal agreement between TfL and its customers.
TfL staff and bus drivers will continue to remind passengers that masks are a requirement, he said.
Scotland and England now have different rules for masks
London is the first English city to insist on face coverings after Covid restrictions ease.
But Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has said he will not ‘”rule out” mandating face masks on public transport.
Mr Burnham told the BBC he had not yet taken the decision to mandate masks on trams in Manchester and wanted to avoid adding to people’s confusion.
And in Scotland the mandatory use of face coverings will remain in place for “some time”, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said, even after the country eases most of its other restrictions on 19 July.
The rules for masks apply in shops and public transport – as well as pubs and restaurants when not seated.
Mr Khan said: “I’m not prepared to stand by and put Londoners, and our city’s recovery, at risk. This is why, after careful consideration, I have decided to ask TfL to retain the requirement for passengers to wear a face covering on all TfL services when the national regulations change.”