Face coverings will remain compulsory on London’s transport network despite Covid restrictions easing in England on 19 July, says Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. He is not prepared to put public transport users at risk by relaxing the rules on mask wearing, he says.
England is removing most of its Covid restrictions next Monday, and while Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he expects masks to be worn in crowded places, such as on a busy Tube train, their use will no longer be legally enforceble under Covid restrictions.
Instead, those rules will be replaced with Government ‘guidance’ advising passengers to wear masks only on busy services. Adhering to the guidance will not be a legal requirement. Sadiq Khan has reacted by making mask wearing a ‘condition of carriage’ in the way that not drinking alcohol is, so that Transport for London can enforce mask wearing on public transport in London.
London is the first English city to insist on face coverings after Covid restrictions ease. Passengers on all TfL services will need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey, unless they are exempt.
Decision to enforce mask wearing on TfL services is “imperfect”, says Mayor
Speaking to Good Morning Britain, Mr Khan said:
“Because we don’t have national backing, we’re going to make it a condition of carriage. This is an imperfect solution. We are working on passing a bylaw to make it a law too.”
Conditions of carriage are contractual conditions between passengers and TfL. When passengers travel on TfL services, they enter into a legal agreement, meaning they are liable if they break the rules. Other conditions of carriage include not consuming alcohol on the Tube and retention of personal travel data.
When asked about the enforcement of mask wearing on public transport in London, Mr Khan told BBC Breakfast:
“We employ a number of enforcement officers, over 400. They will be making sure if anyone’s not wearing a face mask, they will be reminded of the importance of doing so.
“It’s not perfect. [It] would be better if national rules applied across the country to avoid any confusion. The Government for their own reasons have decided not to do that.
“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 the city.”
TfL said that over the past year 212,000 people have been stopped by enforcement officers from getting on the network until they put on a face covering.
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