Fines for not wearing a face-covering on London’s transport have been reintroduced this morning after the government changed the rules for face masks in England.

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 keep the requirement, and although it was unable to fine people, it could remove non-wearers from the service.

Since the government reintroduced the face mask regulation on public transport, and it came into effect this morning, TfL is now able to start issuing fines on non-wearers. TfL has confirmed that it will once again be able to issue penalty notice fines of up to £200 to those who refuse to comply, for the first offence.

The specific piece of legislation came into effect at 4am this morning – and you can read the Statutory Instrument here (pdf file).

This means that customers must wear a face covering that covers their nose and mouth for their entire journey, including on transport services, in stations and on platforms, unless they are exempt. Additionally, face coverings should be worn by everyone in taxi and private hire vehicles for the duration of their journey.

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.

To support the reintroduction of national regulations, TfL is also handing out face coverings at key locations across the capital.

Siwan Hayward, Director of Compliance, Policing, Operations and Security at TfL, said: “Throughout the pandemic the vast majority of people have been doing the right thing and keeping each other safe from the virus, for which we’re very grateful. The Government has now issued a regulation which means all customers must wear face coverings on public transport unless they are exempt as part of the ongoing fight against Covid.”

Testing by Imperial College London has been carried out monthly since September 2020, taking swabs of touchpoints in stations, buses and air samples in ticket halls. No traces of coronavirus on TfL’s public transport network have been found since independent testing began.


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  1. MPW says:

    In my opinion wearing a mask is nothing compared to more serious restrictions on my lifestyle which are required when the virus spreads more widely. In Zurich, where my sister lives, masks have been required indoors and on transport this whole time. It just seems like such an easy win. I wish it had been more consistently required throughout the pandemic here. Anyway, not looking to cause a debate, I understand not everyone agrees with that viewpoint.

  2. Julian says:

    I quite agree, unfortunately there are those who value individual liberty over any sense of a duty of care to others. For me, the two can co-exist quite happily and mask-wearing enables that.

  3. Melvyn says:

    What’s the logic of forcing a single passenger on a 12 carriage train to wear a face mask and yet 5 people crammed in a car don’t need to wear a face mask . Surely multi occupants of road vehicles should also be legally made to wear masks !

    • ianVisits says:

      The regulations do cover the use of taxis — but quite understandably, not private cars, just as they don’t cover private homes.

    • John Watkins says:

      If they are not in the same household, they really ought to mask up. Same as if you were in a Taxi?

  4. John Tetlow says:

    Get real. How would it be enforced?

  5. funnoy says:

    Its about time, that TFL again, like during the last pandemic 10-12 years ago,employs more temporarly TFL police officers for all the busses within London (not just tube and rail !!!), since about 50% of people on the busses ignore the fact to wear a mask, and many cough. This could help again, if these passengers get fined and chucked out if not wearing facemasks, which helps to reduce the virusses across London 🙂

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