Face coverings

Physical distancing, hand washing and respiratory hygiene, are the most important and effective measures we can all adopt to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Therefore the wearing of facial coverings must not be used as an alternative to any of these other precautions.

As some people can have the virus but experience no symptoms (asymptomatic infection), wearing a face covering in an enclosed environment may help protect other people from catching the virus.

However, it remains the case that anyone with symptoms and all members of their household (whether they have symptoms or not), must self-isolate and adhere to the guidance on individual and household isolation on NHS Inform.

Face coverings on public transport

After careful consideration of the medical and scientific evidence and taking into account the representations of transport staff and the views of the public we have concluded that people must wear a face covering on public transport  and public transport premises such as train stations and airports from 22 June.

Though the scientific evidence on the benefits of their use is limited, there may be some benefit in wearing a face covering when entering an enclosed space such as a public transport vehicle or in a railway or bus station or airport where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people that an individual would not usually meet. This measure will also rebuild public confidence in the use of our public transport.People must wear a face covering on public transport  and public transport premises such as train stations and airports from 22 June

Accordingly, face covering must be worn by all passengers and staff or operators in the following settings:

Specific exemptions provide that certain categories of people are not required to wear a face covering. This includes children under five years of age, a constable or an emergency responder acting in the course of their duty.  Staff such as drivers who are physically separated, by means of, for example, screens, from other staff and passengers are also exempt from wearing face coverings, .

You may also have a reasonable excuse not to wear a face covering if, for example:

You must provide your own face covering when travelling on public transport. A face covering is a facial covering of the mouth and nose, that is made of cloth or other textiles and through which you can breathe, for example a scarf. You may also use if you prefer a face visor but it must cover your nose and mouth completely. It is most important that what you wear is comfortable when it is being worn. 

Religious face coverings that cover the mouth and the nose count as face coverings for these regulations. 

When applying or removing the covering, it is important that you wash your hands first and avoid touching your face. After each use, you must wash a fabric face covering at 60 degrees centigrade or dispose of it safely. 

In addition to having to wear a face covering on public transport we strongly recommend that you wear a face covering in other enclosed environments, such as shops, as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the virus.

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