CPT urges fair face-mask ruling for Welsh public transport
CPT is urging the Welsh Government to not treat the coach and bus sector differently to other enclosed sectors when it comes to relaxing face mask rules.
Face coverings will continue to be required by law on public transport in Wales despite further relaxation of Covid regulations.
The requirement for face coverings at indoor public places and on public transport is due to continue even during the Welsh Government’s alert level zero status, which it is due to enter from 7 August. However, hospitality settings will be exempt from this requirement.
First Minister, Mark Drakeford, said: “We can be reasonably confident that vaccination has weakened the link between infections and serious illness. But there is still a risk that this third wave of the pandemic could cause real harm – either direct harm from the virus or indirect harm from for example people having to isolate
“We can move to alert level one for indoor spaces from 17 July and go further for outdoor spaces because we know the risk of transmission outdoors is lower.
“We are also publishing plans for a new alert level zero, which will have fewer legal restrictions but which will still need all of us to take steps to protect ourselves.”
“Passengers would also find it difficult to understand why they could undertake a wide range of activities with no restrictions but are encouraged to wear a face covering on the bus home for what will be a much shorter period or on a coach after enjoying a day out” – CPT Cymru Director, Joshua Miles
Commenting on the First Minister’s statement on the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, CPT Cymru Director, Joshua Miles, said: “CPT Cymru welcomes the First Minister’s statement setting out our pathway towards the removal of Covid-19 restrictions. Throughout the pandemic bus and coach operators have worked closely with Welsh Government and local authorities to keep services running ensuring that it allows those who need to travel to do so in a safe way.
“However, it is important that public transport is not treated differently to other enclosed sectors when the rules around face masks are removed as we share many of the same characteristics.
“Passengers would also find it difficult to understand why they could undertake a wide range of activities with no restrictions but are encouraged to wear a face covering on the bus home for what will be a much shorter period or on a coach after enjoying a day out.
“Should mandatory face coverings remain on public transport longer than other sectors, it will pose a significant challenge in enforcement that unfortunately will fall to drivers without clear Welsh Government action.
“With this decision likely to impact passenger confidence, if we want to avoid a car-based recovery it is vital that the Welsh Government now backs a return to bus, both through what they say and do, but also by setting out clear communications around how passenger transport is a safe and attractive mode of travel.”