BRITS have been ordered to wear face masks on buses and trains — with fines for refusing.
Ministers will make it a “condition of carriage” for face coverings to be worn on public transport from June 15 in a bid to slash the spread of coronavirus.
Passengers without a face mask will not be allowed to board or told to get off at the next stop.
British Transport Police will have powers allowing them to issue on-the-spot fines to rule breakers. Young children, the disabled and those with breathing difficulties will be exempt.
So far, face masks on public transport have been only a suggestion. But The Sun reported in April the growing consensus on their effectiveness in helping to reduce the virus’s spread.
And with more and more data suggesting the same, ministers are keen to enforce widespread use, especially with the numbers of businesses and schools reopening set to rise.
At Thursday's Downing Street briefing, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said people in England will be “required to wear face coverings” on public transport both to protect themselves and others from mid-June.
He said: “Face coverings will become mandatory on public transport.
“That doesn’t mean surgical masks, which we must keep for clinical settings. It means the kind of face covering you can easily make at home. We are doing what many other countries have asked transport users to do. We need to ensure every precaution is taken on buses, trains, aircraft and on ferries with more people using transport.The evidence suggests wearing face coverings offers some protection against the spread of the virus. This will mean that you can be refused travel. If you don’t comply, you can be fined. Alongside transport operators, this will be enforced by the British Transport Police if necessary. You cannot travel unless you wear a face covering. There will also be other powers, ultimately it could lead to fines.”
Masking the mouth and nose reduces the risk of asymptomatic carriers — who are infected but showing no symptoms — from passing on the bug. A DIY face-covering can be used — even just a scarf or a thin cloth mask.
Private hire taxis and minicabs are also included in the measures.
But the rules do not cover bus stops, railway stations and other terminals