Face Maskson trains and buses
Since June 15th 2020, you need to wear a face covering on buses and trains in England and Scotland. And from 27th July a three layer mask is mandatory in Wales on buses, trains, and taxis. This is to help reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. Research suggests wearing some cloth over your mouth and nose helps protect other people you come into contact with if you happen to be infectious. It doesn't need to be complicated. You can easily buy or make your own non-surgical face masks. We've put together a few tips and ideas about travelling safely and comfortably by public transport. Network Rail have summarised the advice: "Travel at quieter times. Wash your hands. Wear a face covering." And thanks to LNER for the pictures of their new face masks featuring regional images (see 3 below).
1. What are the rules about face masks on public transport?
Face coverings are now compulsory on buses, trains and ferries in England and Scotland (and also in Wales, where they need to have three layers). You now need to wear them inside stations too. It’s particularly important when a carriage or platform is crowded. If you don’t follow the rules, you might not be allowed to travel.
- Does everyone have to wear them? Some people are exempt, including children under 11 (under 5 in Scotland), people with disabilities or breathing difficulties.
- How can I prove I don’t need to wear one? Legally, you just need to tell whoever is enforcing the rules that you are exempt. But you might feel more comfortable with a printed card or badge.
- What about if I need a drink? No problem. The law says: “if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering”.
2. Where can I get a face covering?
The new law talks about face coverings rather than face masks. You don’t need some kind of medical device. Any piece of cloth that covers your nose and mouth will do (except in Wales). Here are some ideas:
- Make your own. The BBC has suggested various ways, with or without sewing, to create your own face masks.
- Order them online. Several companies are now making bespoke and designer face masks (who knew they would be this summer’s must-have accessory?)
- Our current favourites are the non-profit family packs of ten for £25 from Baukjen. They are made from leftover bits of cotton in simple patterns and colours. They are soft, washable and have a wire you can bend round your nose to help them fit better.
- London-based Maskey are also a popular choice and are busy supplying vending machines that sell masks in stations and shopping centres. See 3 below for more ideas.
- Some train companies are still giving out disposable masks for free.
- The scarf or bandanna option. The most basic option is to wrap or tie a scarf or bandanna round your face. This sounds easy, but our experience suggests it can be tricky to keep it firmly and comfortably in place.