Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement at the daily Downing Street briefing on Thursday, June 4 – confirming that the new rules will come into force from Monday, June 15.
This is the same date that the country’s lockdown measures are set to be further reviewed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and the day that non-essentials shop in England are scheduled to reopen for the first time.
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Mr Shapps said the new conditions will cover travel on trains and buses in England – and mean that a person could be refused travel, or even fined, if they do not comply with the instructions to wear a covering.
Scotland and Wales will issue their own guidance on wearing coverings separately.
Face coverings should be regularly washed after use, with Mr Shapps adding on Friday, June 5 that hand-washing and social distancing are still the most important measures in preventing the spread of coronavirus.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan and transport unions were among those lobbying for the introduction of face coverings on public transport.
This is what the Government’s new guidance for England says:
*People must wear face coverings when using public transport in England. Very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties will be exempt.
*This will become mandatory on Monday, June 15 and the new rules will be enforced by transport operators and the British Transport police ‘if necessary’.
*While wearing a covering does not necessarily protect the wearer, it may protect others from people who are infected with the virus but are not yet showing symptoms.
*The key thing for a face covering is that it goes over your nose and mouth. Scarves, pieces of cloth and other home-made cotton coverings are suitable if you do not have a mask.
*The Government also currently advises that face coverings are worn in ‘enclosed spaces’, including some shops.