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.
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
- Wash your hands or use sanitiser before putting it on.
- Wash your hands or use sanitiser after taking it off.
- Do not touch your face when wearing it .
- 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.
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