From 15 June, face coverings on public transport in England will be compulsory to help prevent the spread of coronavirus as more people go back to work, Grant Shapps has announced.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said the government will require people to wear face coverings on buses, trains, tubes and other modes of public transport from 15 June, when non-essential shops will start to reopen.
It comes as the UK recorded the deaths of another 176 people who tested positive for coronavirus, taking the total number of deaths in the UK to 39,904.
Ministers are bringing in the policy due to concerns about the difficulties of physical distancing on crowded public transport, despite people being asked to use other ways of travelling, to space out, face away from each other and travel at staggered times.
Grant Shapps said at the daily government briefing on June 4: “There will be pressure on public transport. To meet that demand we’re ramping up services on buses, trams and trains, with substantial government funding. But, we need to do more.
‘Masks will be mandatory’
Grant Shapps announced that from June 15, face coverings will be mandatory and compulsory on public transport. The masks should be not be clinical masks as they are needed for NHS workers on the frontline against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Commuters can be refused travel and be fined if they do not wear a face mask on public transport.
“The masks are mandatory. They should be easy to be made from home. There are of course exemptions for young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties,” Mr Shapps said.
Mr Shapps also stressed that if the public can work from home, then they should continue to do so. If they cannot, he urged to avoid public transport where possible.
If it is not possible to avoid public transport, you should avoid commuting during the busiest times of the day.
Mr Shapps also said measures like social distancing and washing your hands often are still vital in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
The chief medical officer for England, Professor Chris Whitty, has repeatedly stressed that face coverings are “not a substitute” for physical distancing and urged the public not to buy surgical or medical masks needed for frontline carers, but to rely on scarves or DIY-type masks instead.
The advice also suggests public should wash their clothes regularly, as there is “some evidence that the virus can stay on fabrics”.
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