Calls to keep masks on public transport

Calls for face coverings to remain mandatory on public transport have been made, despite the announcement that they will no longer be required by law next week.

Face coverings will no longer be required by law on public transport, or any public setting, in England from 27 January. The Government is dropping its Plan B response to Covid-19 in favour of the less stringent Plan A, following a reduction in the spread of the Omicron variant of the virus.

Also from the same date, people will no longer be advised to work from home.

“Covid-19 still poses a significant threat to all of us” – Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan

However, Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has called for masks to remain mandatory on public transport, echoing his similar call when face covering requirements were dropped last year. He said: “Covid-19 still poses a significant threat to all of us, our livelihoods and our loved ones. Wearing a face covering is one of the single most important and easiest things we can all do to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the Government should rethink their plans and keep legislation in place to make them mandatory on public transport. This ensures the rules are clear and consistent and crucially means enforcement action can continue to be carried out on our transport network. Compliance of the rules is far higher with legislation than without.

“If we have learnt anything from this pandemic, it is that we must not get complacent and undo all our hard work and sacrifices. That’s why face coverings will remain a condition of carriage on TfL services. I’m asking everyone in our capital to do the right thing and continue to wear a face covering when travelling on TfL services to keep us all protected and to prevent further restrictions from being necessary later down the line.”

The Mayor’s call is backed by TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes.

Cortes said: “As ever our union puts public health first and we know that face coverings help reduce transmission of the virus and will give the public confidence on public transport.

“It’s vital our brave transport members who have been on the frontline of this pandemic continue to feel they are protected. It’s also important we do all that is reasonable get people back onto public transport in London and elsewhere so that we can build a clean, green recovery from this virus.

“Sadiq Khan is spot on when he says face coverings should remain beyond the end of Plan B, especially given the rates of infection we are still seeing. Clearly the government should back this, not only for London but across the rest of our public transport network.”

“Service levels on our buses and trains are increasing as colleague absence reduces, and we look forward to welcoming more customers back” – Customer and Commercial Director, Mark Anderson

Despite the call in London for masks to remain, the Government’s switch from Plan B to Plan A has been welcomed by Go-Ahead. The operator’s Customer and Commercial Director, Mark Anderson, said: “We welcome today’s announcement from the PM which will help bring bustle and vitality back to our towns and cities. Whilst work and life patterns have changed for many, in person interaction helps businesses thrive, and commuting can provide valued space between home and the office.

“Service levels on our buses and trains are increasing as colleague absence reduces, and we look forward to welcoming more customers back. Our apps and websites provide information on which services are busier, helping customers who would prefer to travel at quieter times.”

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