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.