Apparently, we’re now all expected to ‘live’ with Covid. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has just announced the end of Covid restrictions in England – meaning that from Thursday, it will no longer be a legal requirement to self-isolate if you test positive. And free lateral flow and PCR testing will be scrapped from April 1, as will mass testing in schools. But what does this mean for mask-wearing in London?
Will I still have to wear a mask on Transport for London services?
It’s currently a legal requirement to wear a mask on public transport in London, unless you are exempt. However, TfL announced today that they will no longer require face coverings to be worn on its services from 24 February – but will still strongly recommend them.
Lilli Matson, Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer for TfL, said:
‘Following the Government’s decision to lift coronavirus restrictions and the falling infection rates in London, we will be removing the condition of carriage that requires customers to wear face coverings from 24 February, but will continue to strongly recommend that customers and staff wear them as they are proven to reduce the risk of transmission and we know they provide confidence to people using public transport.’
In response to Boris Johnson’s recent announcement, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said in a statement: ‘I urge passengers to be considerate of their fellow Londoners and continue to wear a face covering where appropriate unless exempt.’
Do I need to wear a face covering in venues?
It has been optional to wear a mask in London venues since January. The government website says: ‘In England, face coverings are no longer required by law. The government suggests that you continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where you may come into contact with other people you do not normally meet.’ However, individual shops, venues, and companies may impose their own rules around wearing face masks. It is also expected that masks will remain mandatory for NHS staff and visitors at hospitals, care homes, and GP surgeries.
When will the new rules come into effect?
The requirement to wear a mask on London public transport will be scrapped on Thursday February 24, when the wider changes around self-isolation come into place.