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?

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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...

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

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.

Anonymous says:

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 02:41
I agree with face covering but how can u prove u r asthmatic or unable to wear a mask

Kathleen Gesese says:

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 03:06
I am an asthmatic all my life one minute the government are saying don't have to wear a mask then they said everyone has to wear a mask..I cannot breathe properly with a mask on . So which is it

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