Although the mandatory wearing of a facemask in England is to be cancelled from next Thursday (27th Jan), the Mayor of London has announced that they will remain mandatory on London’s public transport network for the time being.
When the government removed the requirement to wear a face mask on public transport across the UK in July 2021, TfL changed its own rules to retain the requirement, and although it was unable to fine people it could remove non-wearers from the service. When facemasks were reintroduced in shops and on public transport across England last November, TfL reintroduced its £200 fines.
From next Thursday, as the legal requirement to wear a face-covering on public transport will lapse across England, TfL will still require it as a Condition of Carriage on TfL regulated services. So while people who don’t have a good reason to use the service without wearing a face-covering can’t be fined, they can be asked to leave. That applies to people wearing face masks under their chins, which two years after the pandemic started is still a bafflingly regular sight on public transport.
So that’s taxis, buses, trains, trams, and dangleways.
It does however see a return to the situation where some stations can have some passengers required to wear a face mask, and some not. Such as Peckham Rye which serves both Southern and London Overground trains from adjacent platforms.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “If we have learnt anything from this pandemic, it is that we must not get complacent and undo all our hard work and sacrifices. That’s why face coverings will remain a condition of carriage on TfL services. I’m asking everyone in our capital to do the right thing and continue to wear a face-covering when travelling on TfL services to keep us all protected and to prevent further restrictions from being necessary later down the line.”
People who are medically exempted from wearing a face-covering can request a free badge from TfL to show they are exempt – from here.
Scientific advice suggests that, although face coverings are unlikely to prevent an individual from catching the coronavirus, they can help prevent someone who is infected from infecting others and thus help control the virus.