Mayor pushes for face masks in London
Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has asked TfL to keep the requirement to wear face coverings on public transport as a condition of travel on all TfL services. It follows the announcement by the Government that from 19 July there will be no legal requirement for masks to be worn on public transport in England.
Despite the upcoming change in England, the current mandate for face coverings stays in place for Scotland and Wales.
The requirement in London would mean passengers on all TfL services would need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey unless they are exempt. This would include the Tube, bus, tram, DLR, Overground and TfL Rail. Sadiq’s decision to do this follows his repeated calls on the Government to retain the existing national legal requirement for face coverings on public transport. The Mayor has said the proposed ruling will be kept subject to ongoing review. Conditions of carriage are contractual conditions between passengers and TfL, with existing conditions including not consuming alcohol which is also enforced by a byelaw.
TfL’s specially trained enforcement officers, who patrol the transport network to ensure customers and staff remain safe, will run targeted operations and will refuse entry to people not wearing masks and who are not exempt. They would also be able to ask people to leave services for failure to comply with the requirement.
The move has been supported by transport secretary, Grant Shapps, who made comments backing the decision on Sky News.
“I’m sure Londoners will continue to do the right thing as they have done throughout the pandemic, and continue to wear a face covering on TfL services” – Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, said: “By keeping face masks mandatory we will give Londoners and visitors the reassurance and confidence to make the most of what our city has to offer, while also protecting our heroic transport workers and those who may be vulnerable and rely on the network to get around our city. It’s an extra layer of protection on top of TfL’s world-leading enhanced cleaning regime – and I’m sure Londoners will continue to do the right thing as they have done throughout the pandemic, and continue to wear a face covering on TfL services.”
In the same statement, the Mayor’s office said there is no evidence to suggest that public transport is any less safe than any other enclosed indoor setting with high numbers of people mixing. Independent testing by Imperial College has been carried out regularly since September, taking swabs of touch points in stations and buses and air samples in ticket halls and has found no traces of coronavirus on the public transport system.
Trade unions representing bus staff in the city have welcomed the mayor’s push to keep face masks a requirement for travel on London’s public transport network.