Despite lockdown restrictions easing on 19 July, face coverings must still be worn on London’s transport network.
London’s mayor Sadiq Khan said he was not prepared to put bus, train and other transport users at risk by relaxing the rules on face coverings.
As an effort to reduce the spread of the virus face masks have been a requirement on public transport for the past year but those rules will be replaced with government guidance advising passengers to wear masks only on busy services. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he expects masks to be worn in crowded places but their use will no longer be compulsory.
London is the first English city to insist on face coverings after Covid restrictions ease.
The wearing of face masks has been made a “condition of carriage” for the Tube, bus, tram, DLR, Overground and TfL Rail. That means it will be listed as a condition in a legal agreement between Transport for London and its customers.
Mr Khan said:
“We know from the government’s own advisors and from the World Health Organisation, that wearing a face covering indoors does reduce transmissions. It leads to greater public safety and greater public confidence as well. As long as the virus is still with us, and as long as we’re still concerned about the virus being transmitted, we will make it compulsory.”
Under the new rules TfL’s 400 enforcement officers will stop anyone without a face covering from using London transport. TfL staff and bus drivers will continue to remind passengers that masks are a legal requirement.
The mayor said:
“I am confident you will see from Monday high levels of the rules being followed just like there has been since last June”.
Face coverings will also be required in taxis and private hire vehicles by both drivers and passengers – unless they are exempt.