Last reviewed 5 June 2020

The UK’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced that face coverings will be compulsory on public transport in England as of Monday 15 June 2020 in order to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

The announcement was made as Mr Shapps announced further easing of lockdown restrictions from 15 June with non-essentials shops re-opening and some children returning to secondary school.

He acknowledged that the changes would lead to more pressure on public transport and once again urged people to work from home if they are able to do so.

He added, “If you cannot work from home, you should avoid public transport wherever possible. And if you must use public transport, you should follow the guidance, including avoiding the rush hour.”

He then announced that as of Monday 15 June, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport but clarified that this did not mean surgical masks, which should be kept for clinical settings but rather referred to the kind of face coverings easily made at home.

However, there will be exceptions to the rule — for very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties, he said.

Mr Shapps also stressed that social distancing and regular handwashing were still the most important measures to prevent Covid-19 from spreading.

At the time of writing, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government is currently considering whether to make face coverings mandatory in certain circumstances. In Wales, face coverings are not yet mandated for the general public while in Northern Ireland the advice has been to consider wearing them in places where social distancing cannot be maintained.