What you need to know

In England, most people now need to wear a face covering while using public transport.

Face coverings can help to reduce the spread of Covid-19. They are most important when people are indoors or close to each other, when the virus can spread easily.

The risks on public transport are high. People cannot always stay 2 metres apart.

If possible, avoid public transport. Walk, cycle or drive instead. And, of course, work from home if you can.

If you must use public transport, you need to wear face coverings on buses, trains (The Tube included), coaches, trams, ferries and planes.

Public transport workers must also wear face coverings if they can.

These rules apply in England. The governments of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have issued separate guidance.

What is a face covering?

Face coverings (or face shields) aren’t the same as face masks.

Please don’t use medical masks for travelling. Medical masks need to be available for healthcare staff.

Face coverings should cover the mouth and nose, and let you breathe easily.

They can be as simple as a scarf or bandana, tied snuggly behind the head. Cycle masks and dust masks are also options.

Or you could make your own face covering out of material or an old T-shirt. It doesn’t have to involve sewing.

You can buy face coverings online. There are even child-friendly ones with cartoon characters.

But some sellers have put their prices up. Make sure you shop around.

Who doesn’t have to wear face coverings?

Some people don’t have to wear face coverings on public transport.

Children under 11 or anyone who has trouble breathing or would find it hard to manage a face covering without help doesn’t have to wear one.

And there are other exceptions to the rules about wearing face coverings on public transport in England.

Do face coverings protect from Covid-19?

Scientists say that wearing a face covering can help to reduce the spread of the virus if people cannot stay 2 metres apart.

Talking, sneezing, and coughing close to other people can spread the virus.

Some people with Covid-19 do not have symptoms and can spread it without knowing.

So wearing a face covering on public transport can help to protect you, other passengers, and transport staff.

But still stay 2 metres apart whenever you can. And wash your hands regularly – whether you are wearing a face covering or not.

Important tips for wearing a face covering

  1. Wash your hands or use sanitiser before putting it on.
  2. Wash your hands or use sanitiser after taking it off.
  3. Do not touch your face when wearing it .
  4. Wash fabric face coverings regularly – in your normal wash.

What if you don’t wear a face covering?

If you don’t wear a face covering, you may not be able to travel on public transport. Or you may be fined, as you would be for travelling without a ticket.

British Transport Police have said they will engage with passengers who are not wearing face coverings and encourage them to follow the new rules.

To learn more, visit Gov.uk.

Good to know

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Your Comments

Annette Peach says:

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 16:55
Been on first bus to day and there are people on there with out a mask makes me nervous to go on them if people can get away with out wearing them

Phoebe says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 17:36

In reply to by Annette Peach

I boarded a bus on Friday, we all got on wearing face coverings when this man got on behind me not wearing one, he was still allowed to board, are drivers afraid confronting men?

Katie robson says:

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 21:01

In reply to by Phoebe

My husband works for a well know bus company he has been asked to mention to passengers that they have to have a mask on while on the bus but the company will not back the drivers if they have any problems with passengers not having them on. So if you see someone with out a face covering on don't sit near them.

carmen says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 20:19

In reply to by Annette Peach

I thought you had to wear one on the bus or carnt we be fined how do they get away with it were have they bin it's bin all most a week now there are signs on the bus to let us know plus I got a e-mail off the bus company to let me know don't they care why do they kick off about it on my bus we are saving lives we may not like it but people lives matter I probably we're one at work to I go back next week we all need to be safe think of the doc and nurses

Roxsy says:

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 11:13

In reply to by Annette Peach

This is true.In front my window I have bus stop and I see too many time people take the bus without mask.Soo do more control...

Carrie Ann says:

Sun, 06/28/2020 - 18:52

In reply to by Annette Peach

If people dont wear a mask should be fine

Sue Smith says:

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 15:49

In reply to by Annette Peach

It could be they had copd or asthma. You do not have to wear a mask if you have breathing difficulties. I have both and can't breathe properly with a mask on

Sue Willis says:

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 18:07
I use first bradford buses and most people are not wearing any face covering. Apparently the drivers are not getting the back up from management if they challenge passengers. Also it has been said that they don't want to refuse people travelling as they will lose money. This is disgusting people are making mugs out of the system. The posters on the bus shelters just say wear a face covering if you can. Nothing to say it is mandatory and a fine can be issued. It implies it is up to you if you want to wear one. No drivers are telling people to wear them or refusing them travel. I have to get 4 buses a day as I work too far to walk. This is causing me so much anxiety I am having to contemplate giving my job up as it is making me ill.

Donna says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 13:15

In reply to by Sue Willis

Bus drivers cannot be expected to enforce mask wearing. That would be a dangerous task. Some people are exempt from wearing masks too so it might not always be blatant disregard.

Kim says:

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 19:33

In reply to by Donna

Yes agreed phoebe it shouldn't be up to the bus driver to enforce wearing a face mask it could be unsafe .

I personally think it should be regularly monitored like you have your ticket checked and maybe those who are exempt carry some medical proof.

Jules says:

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 07:04

In reply to by Sue Willis

Thats terrible, the signs should say mandatory face coveribgs should be worn. If they don't have one shouldnt be allowed on the bus.

Maureen says:

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 20:07

In reply to by Sue Willis

I have breathing problems Asthma Cops i have been informed we should not wear a mask

Fiona Kelly says:

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 11:15
Why isn't it compulsory for shop staff to were a mask,which I think it should be as a lot of companies don't want the staff to were them,so a lot of staff are a bit put off wearing one but so make it compulsory for people working in retail so they can be protected to as they see 100s of people every day

Yvonne says:

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 21:41

In reply to by Fiona Kelly

I work in a supermarket most of us haven’t been wearing face PPE but now the 2m has changed to 1m that means a lot more people will be in the shop I would fill better if all shoppers had to were one before they came in. and I am sure this is going to put people of shopping for a while.

Naomi Pinfold says:

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 16:29

In reply to by Fiona Kelly

I totally agree I work in food retail I have panic attacks I hate going on a till with customers getting close I ask for 1 person to be at my till 98% of the time i get abuse the manager and higher up are truly only thinking if their targets 1 person per trolly or household is an utter joke. The whole country has become a push over no-one has enforced anything through this pandemic!

D Lauderdale says:

Thu, 06/25/2020 - 12:32

In reply to by Fiona Kelly

I believe the bus drivers need to be more actively reducing the offenders. It is summer, so public transport can get rather sweltering stuffy time, so ignorant and selfish commuters aren't abiding, because it's uncomfortable.
We are all uncomfortable for God sake, contracting COVID-19 is much more uncomfortable don't you think?
Just get the mask on and save lives.
I've witnessed numerous customers getting upset to being politely asked to use a stores FREE hand sanitisor.
They are happy to shop again, ignoring any risk of getting or passing on the virus (THAT STILL HAS NO CURE YET) and potentially killing someone.
The ignorance is very unsettling to witness.
A highly percentage of shoppers need educated on the NEW NORMAL WAY OF SHOPPING.
The store teams even with the social distancing, till area screens, increase of contactless payment limits, increased cleaning routines. are still at high risk, especially if shoppers enter at restricted numbers but don't use sanitisor and start touch products the virus can be passed on. They don't seem to get it and get upset when asked to use the free protection. Yes you may have put some on this morning or even in the previous store, but have you put your hands in your pocket, touched your face, even your super cool looking sunglasses, wallet or purse with famously dirty/unhygienic bank notes, bank cards?
Just put some on while you are shopping and keep doing your bit too to help SAVE LIVES, please stop complaining it smells funny, you've put loads on today or it makes your hands too dry...... SERIOUSLY??????
The stores are Frantically anxious trying to keep themselves and you protected.
The relaxed lockdown2020 is not meaning to go back to NORMAL like before, BEFORE IS OVER.
Now we need more CAUTION, CONSIDERATION & CARE is strictly required alongside the NEW NORMAL way to shop.
Please be mindful for all those retailers trying to do their best to help YOU, help attempt rebooting the economy.
STAY SAFE EVERYONE, we still have a way to go to get through this, xXx.

Mrs Elizabeth … says:

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 12:26
I have a problem with making saliva and got a spay as my mouth dries up very quickly it's worse when I put on a mask for the bus which makes it very awkward for me to keep spraying my mouth would like your advice on this please

Mel says:

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 21:53

In reply to by Mrs Elizabeth …

With a medical condition such as that you are exempt. Many people who rely on public transport (especially after 9.30am) are exempt. You wouldn't know my mother had a problem but a mask made her ill as she thought she had to wear one but her breathing couldn't cope. It's difficult because we don't want people to have to explain WHY they're not wearing one when it's a genuine health issue x

Pauline says:

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 11:32

In reply to by Mrs Elizabeth …

I also have secretion problem, l use pastilles called salivix and where face covering.

Debra Crewe says:

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 17:02
Just want to know how to stop my glasses steaming up as I the shape of my face prevents me from seeing through condensation while wearing a face covering.
I was never able to wear a dust mask either?

Teresa says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 16:37

In reply to by Debra Crewe

To stop your glasses steaming up ,put washing up liquid or liquid soap on the lenses and dry off, works a treat

Kim Shaw says:

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 06:59

In reply to by Teresa

Wipe shaving foam over the lenses and clean it off. This also stops mirrors steaming up in the bathroom too.

Janet says:

Thu, 07/02/2020 - 16:51

In reply to by Teresa

Thank you. Am getting fed up of my varifocal steaming up as soon as I put my mask on.

Mary Robinson says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 20:10

In reply to by Debra Crewe

You could try folding a tissue several times so that it is about 1” by 4” and putting it inside the mask at the top, so that it sits over your nose. It stops your breath from fogging up your specs. I tried it today and although it wasn’t perfect, it was a big improvement.

Helen says:

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 10:09

In reply to by Mary Robinson

Tucking your face mask under your specs is the solution I have found - then you are just breathing out into your mask rather than up inside your specs.

Ann says:

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 17:56

In reply to by Debra Crewe

If you ensure the mask is on the bridge of your nose then it will fit under your glasses so that they don't steam up.

Gill says:

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 00:24

In reply to by Debra Crewe

A nose wire or clip in the mask will help for a tighter fit.

Vidya madden says:

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 19:31

In reply to by Debra Crewe

The mask should have a nose strip in the top which can be bent to fit. The wire strip is normally removable for washable coverings

Eliane Hughes says:

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 19:16

In reply to by Debra Crewe

Put glasses on top of your mask instead. That will help you.

June says:

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 14:40

In reply to by Debra Crewe

If your breath is escaping and up your glasses then it is NOT fitted properly. It needs to be shaped around your nose and over your cheekbones. Use tape if necessary to keep it close to your face. If worn incorrectly theh don't work properly.

Debbie smythe says:

Sat, 06/20/2020 - 18:09
I have asthma and find it hard to breath with a face mask on. What if I was stopped on public transport for not wearing a mask. How do I prove I am asthmatic?

Anne says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 12:30

In reply to by Debbie smythe

Carry your inhaler with you.

Jenny says:

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 20:30

In reply to by Anne

I have asthma I cant find an app to download to show the driver

Debra says:

Wed, 06/24/2020 - 19:35

In reply to by Debbie smythe

Depending on where you live there are excemption cards that will allow you to travel on public transport without on. I have COPD and have the same problem.
I now hold an exemption card and have not been challenged (as yet)

Mrs rosemary m… says:

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 16:34

In reply to by Debbie smythe

I am asthmatic, if you go on asthma UK they have an exception app . You can download it on phone. U then have proof. Hope this helps

Hayley says:

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 14:38

In reply to by Debbie smythe

I have downloaded a screen photo for my lockscreen from the asthma UK site to say I do not have to wear a mask as I having breathing problems, I also have a letter from my doctors saying I am asthmatic

Catherine Mahon says:

Sat, 07/11/2020 - 19:37

In reply to by Debbie smythe


Kim welding says:

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 01:12
I am a bus driver n my boss says let people on even if they refuse to not wear one the people who has nothing wrong with them they just refuse n we not allowed to challenge them

Carol humphris says:

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 05:15
As vunerable have been at home for 12wks-and had to return to work. I have had to walk to work as there are so many people on buses WITHOUT masks on. You say it’s mandatory but no one is enforcing this rule
H98. 90. E6 U4. 278.

John Challice says:

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 07:07
I can't breathe properly how do I prove this when I'm on public transport

Gordon Cocks says:

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 08:15
Don’t understand that it is not a cure and not a stops it in its spread but still a good practice but still see so many not adhering to it passengers and drivers so why not do it ?

Mandy Buxey says:

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 18:47
Bus drivers don't were them in Portsmouth and why does it not include taxi drivers?

P. Hands says:

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 04:45

In reply to by Mandy Buxey

Taxis have not been mentioned in anything. Some taxi drivers are wearing mask and also have plastic clear sheeting. Whilst others don't. Also people in shops not wearing a mask. I work in a shop and they have mask available but told its up to us if we want to wear one . Not one person wears one.!!! Think should make all shop workers wear one...

Barbara says:

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 19:31

In reply to by Mandy Buxey

My taxi driver has a sheet of plastic between the seats. He wears a mask and so do we. No one is allowed in the front seat.

Karina hall says:

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 22:28
My asthma is playing up for over a mth now im still not right ,ive been in hospital, on a course of steriods im speaking to my asthmatic nurse tomorrow as my breathing is bad i still out of breath when i walk ,sit ectand tight chest wearing a mask in hospital all night n day when u can't breathe properly was not only scary but horrendous i felt i was suffocating which was triggering my PTSD but i still wore it i know and understand u have to wear in the bus ect

Nigel Fearn says:

Sun, 06/21/2020 - 23:29
Hi I am part of the vunerable how can you proove you dont need to wear face coverings on public transport

Sheila Deegan says:

Sat, 06/27/2020 - 14:24

In reply to by Nigel Fearn

Hi, there is a card you can download and you just show it the driver.

Wendy Burgin says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 16:04
My husband has an appointment at the hospital shortly and we have been “at home” since the 9 March. We are both very anxious about travelling to hospital on 4 buses is it ok to go with our daughter if we all wear masks?

Bernadette geary says:

Mon, 06/22/2020 - 21:17
I catch the 71 bus there is hardly anybody wearing masks and are not told too when they are getting on disintegrating them around there neck. One bloke asked if they at to wear them driver let him on with it around is neck. So if they are compulsory on public transport why are people been let on the bus without mask. I feel very nervous with people not wearing fhem. The drivers dont wear them either don't know if they have to or not I know they are behind plastic covering . I am abiding by the law so I think other people should as well. Hope this gets sorted out it's not fair on people that are wearing them.

June says:

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 14:47

In reply to by Bernadette geary

Because drivers have a screen it is not compulsory to wear a mask. It can obstruct there view and interfere with there driving. Drivers are unable to enforce the rule regarding wearing of masks because they get no back up. If some one says they are exempt from wearing a mask they are not allowed to ask for proof

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