Face coverings will become a mandatory requirement for those using public transport

05 June 2020

The Department for Transport has confirmed that from 15 June 2020, passengers on buses, coaches, trains, trams, ferries and aircraft will be required to wear face coverings for the duration of their journeys in order to limit the risk of spreading coronavirus, as social distancing is not always possible on public transport.

 The official advice is that people should continue to avoid using public transport where possible and to walk, cycle or drive but there is the understanding that for some individuals, this is not an option. If individuals have the option to work from home, they should continue to do so. However, increased public transport usage has been reported recently, particularly on the tube.

Social distancing is often not possible on public transport, where people are likely to be in an enclosed space for a prolonged period of time, and differs to other enclosed spaces such as shops, where limits can be placed on the number of customers allowed in a premises at any given time.  For these reasons, the government intends to work alongside travel operators to make it mandatory for passengers to wear face coverings, from 15 June, when using public transport in England. Operators will have the ability to refuse travel or issue fines for those individuals who fail to wear a face covering.

The advice is that people using face coverings should wash their hands or use hand sanitiser prior to applying their face covering and after taking it off. Whilst wearing the covering, people should avoid touching their face.

The CIPP recently ran a Quick Poll which asked what the main challenges would be in getting the UK back to work, and 19% of respondents confirmed that travel on public transport was an area of concern.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, said:

“People should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. But, as restrictions are carefully eased when it is safe to do so, it’s likely that we will see more people needing to use public transport.

So, while respecting social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene remain the most important steps we can all take to stay safe, wearing a face covering can play a role in helping us to protect each other.

This is about the small changes we can take to help control the virus, which is why I urge everyone using transport to wear a face covering, to help keep us all safer.”

CIPP comment

When deciding which employees to remove from furlough and bring back into work, employers may consider those able to drive, cycle or walk into work before those who must use public transport. This is in order to reduce the health risks that public transport could potentially pose to those without the option to travel privately by car, bicycle or indeed by walking.

The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication. For all the latest information, news and resources on how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting payroll professions, visit our Coronavirus hub.