The remaining COVID-19 restrictions in England will be lifted on Monday, with people no longer required by law to wear masks.
But the Government has said people will still be expected to wear face coverings in certain situations while some businesses, rail operators and politicians have said that masks will still be required to use services.
Courtesy of PA, let’s take a look at where people will need to wear face coverings once restrictions ease.
What are the rules on masks in England going to be?
When the remaining restrictions in England are lifted on Monday (July 19) people will no longer be required by law to wear face coverings in certain settings.
But the latest guidance, issued on Wednesday, says the Government “expects and recommends” masks to be worn by workers and customers in crowded, enclosed spaces such as public transport.
Does this mean that people will not need to carry masks with them anymore?
It is probably best not to be too quick to throw away your mask.
Health leaders, local politicians, shop bosses and transport chiefs have all said that they will continue to require or encourage people to wear face coverings.
This means that face coverings may be required in some premises, on some bus and train services, hospitals and GP surgeries.
Do people need masks to go to the shops then?
Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s on Wednesday said it would encourage all customers to continue wearing face coverings from July 19 if they can.
Tesco, Asda, Lidl, Morrisons and Waitrose have since come out to say they will also encourage customers and staff to continue wearing masks in their supermarkets from when restrictions ease.
Staff and customers at Waitrose and John Lewis have also been recommended to continue wearing masks but the John Lewis Partnership said it will ultimately be up to individual judgment.
What about going to a hospital or GP appointment?
Staff, patients and visitors in all NHS settings must continue to wear face coverings and observe social distancing, Public Health England (PHE) has said.
PHE said infection prevention measures and visiting guidance are set to continue across all health services including hospitals, GP practices, dental practices, optometrists and pharmacies, to ensure patients and staff are protected.
Staff, patients and visitors will be expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting, as well as using face coverings and other personal protection equipment.
How about public transport?
Face coverings will continue to be compulsory in some locally operated public transport spaces.
People in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire will have to continue wearing face masks in bus stations operated by the combined authorities, while passengers using the Metro in the North East will also be required to wear a face covering.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also said face coverings will be required on Transport for London (TfL) services as a “condition of carriage”.
This means enforcement officers would be able to deny access or eject passengers found to be non-compliant while using the TfL network.
Face coverings will also remain compulsory on Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram services and the Heathrow Express.
What about other transport providers?
Cross-Channel train firm Eurostar and airlines such as British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair will continue to require passengers to wear face coverings from July 19, while Heathrow Airport said that face-coverings will continue to be mandatory.
But the train industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced that all domestic train operators, such as Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express and Southeastern, will not require passengers to wear face coverings.
It said rail companies will ask people to follow the Government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy.
The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT), which represents major bus and coach operators such as National Express and Megabus, has also said that its members will not mandate the wearing of face coverings from Monday.
Does this mean different parts of the country will have different rules on public transport?
Elected regional mayors across England have warned that without a continued national mandate there would be a “ridiculous mismatch” of rules across the country that will be “confusing” for passengers.
The Labour metro mayors for West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, North of Tyne, West of England and South Yorkshire have urged the Government to continue to make face coverings compulsory on all public transport beyond the lifting of restrictions.
What are the rules in Scotland and Wales?
In Wales, face coverings will continue to be required by law in most indoor public places and on public transport when coronavirus restrictions are lifted next month, while in Scotland First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said face covering measures are likely to remain for “some time to come”.
Wales plans to ease some restrictions on July 17, with almost all coronavirus measures lifted from August 7, but it will remain the law to wear a face mask on public transport and in most indoor settings.
The Welsh Government will lift the requirement for people to wear masks as soon as the public health situation allows, First Minister Mark Drakeford has said.
Railway ReadsFrom the history of steam through to 21st century rail transport news, we have titles that cater for all rail enthusiasts. Covering diesels, modelling, steam and modern railways, check out our range of magazines and fantastic subscription offers.
Get The Railway Hub Weekly Round-upEnter your e-mail address below and you will receive weekly rail news straight into your inbox...
You can unsubscribe at any time.
About the Author
- UK railway news roundup - 30th July 2021
- ‘Hidden’ Lake District railway station restored to feature Murder On The Orient Express set cafe - 29th July 2021
- Rail unions call public meeting over future of Eurostar - 29th July 2021