If you’re yet to purchase a face mask, it might be time to get creative with an old shirt or scarf. While it’s been advised since Sunday May 10 that people should wear a face covering in any of London’s public and enclosed spaces – public transport included – it has now been made compulsory while travelling in England. It was announced at the start of the month that from Monday June 15, people across the country must wear some form of face covering on public transport or they could face a fine.
In the new guidelines, face coverings must be worn on buses, trams, trains, coaches, aircraft and ferries. ‘That doesn’t mean surgical masks, which we must keep for clinical settings, it means the kind of face covering you can easily make at home,’ said transport secretary Grant Shapps when measures were announced during a Number 10 daily briefing.
Fines for those found not obeying the new rule will kick in from today (Monday June 15), with 3,000 extra staff and police officers deployed in stations across the country to help enforce the measure. Those found breaking the rules will be denied access on board or will face a £100 fine.
Shapps previously said the measure was being introduced in in anticipation of the rise of passengers on public transport in the coming weeks. The new rule coincides with the reopening of ‘non-essential retail’. However, the government has not made the rule mandatory for those entering shops, despite advice still being that people should wear masks in enclosed public spaces.
The more generalised use of face masks in public spaces is something the Mayor of London has been advocating for some time now. Of the new measures Sadiq Khan said: ‘I encourage anyone travelling on public transport, or anywhere you can’t keep a safe two-metre distance, to wear a face covering, but from Monday June 15, everyone must wear a covering over their nose and mouth for the entirety of any journeys made using the public transport network. This will be mandatory and will help everyone be safer.’
From last week, TfL began giving out free face masks at some of London’s busiest tube and bus stations as part of a new trial.
Tube services are currently running at 13-15 percent of the usual capacity to enable social distancing. Working from home and avoiding the commute is still being encouraged in London, as are journeys by foot or by bike if possible.
No mask? No problem. You can purchase one of these reusable beauties by London makers.
Here’s a current list of closed London Underground stations.