Transport For London is NOT issuing fines for not wearing masks
Sadiq Khan’s Transport For London bosses admit they are NOT fining commuters for not wearing facemasks on trains and tubes – even though anti-Covid rule came in 10 ago
- TfL Twitter account said it was waiting to ensure ‘customers understand the new requirements’ before fining
- It came as passengers complained about lack of enforcement – although ‘90% plus’ are abiding by the rules
- All public transport users in England need to wear face covering under threat of £100 fine of being kicked off
Sadiq Khan’s Transport for London today admitted they are not fining commuters for failing to wear facemasks on the Tube – even though the rule came into force 10 days ago.
Responding to a customer complaint about the lack of people wearing masks, the official TfL Twitter account said it was waiting to ensure ‘customers understand the new requirements’ before taking any enforcement action.
Although TfL bosses insist 90% of its customers are wearing face coverings, the revelation will anger passengers concerned that some people are still failing to abide by the new rules, which cover public transport across England.
One passenger tweeted today: ‘If it’s so important to wear a face mask, why are people still being allowed to enter stations, stand on platforms and get on trains without them by your station staff, who also aren’t wearing face masks all the time while in the stations.’
Meanwhile, train user Robin Hubbard wrote: ‘Just been on my first train ride since lockdown started. I reckon at least a third of people NOT wearing face masks – despite repeated station announcements they must do so.’
The Government today said that ‘85% to 90%’ of train passengers were abiding by the new rules. Police and transport staff have the power to fine people £100 for not wearing a face covering, or they can throw them off the service. MailOnline has asked British Transport Police for its latest enforcement data.
Most passengers on this train in Brighton were wearing face masks today. But some were seen with a mask hanging down from their chin, even though they only work properly – by blocking exhaled droplets – if they cover the wearer’s mouth and nose
Commuters disembark from a packed train in Brighton today, with thousands of people packing the beach in record-breaking temperatures
On Monday, MailOnline asked Transport for London to disclose the number of people who had been fined but was told ‘we don’t have these figures’.
However, it emerged today that the authority is waiting until it is confident all passengers understand the mandatory face mask rule before taking enforcement action, even though it came into force on June 15.
Twitter user Lewis Malka wrote today: ‘I’m on the tube at Finchley Road. Not many people here but three don’t have face masks. What aren’t staff enforcing it?’
It emerged today that the authority is waiting until it is confident all passengers understand the mandatory face mask rule before taking enforcement action, even though it came into force on June 15
In response TfL said: ‘Hi Lewis, there are people who are exempt from wearing a face covering due to difficulty breathing. To encourage everyone else to wear their face covering, we’ve introduced customer information including emails, announcements & radio ads.
‘Once we’re confident customers understand the new requirements, enforcement, which may include being refused entry or being fined, will start. Stay safe.’
Thousands of face masks have been handed out to Tube and train passengers across England after it became compulsory to wear them on all forms of public transport to reduce coronavirus infection rates.
Transport for London today said compliance with the new law was ’90 per cent plus’ and praised Londoners for being ‘really savvy’.
Meanwhile, Transport minister Baroness Vere of Norbiton agreed that initial reports suggested high compliance.
Lady Vere said there would be a ‘gradual ramp up’ of enforcement and urged the public not to put themselves at risk by asking other passengers not wearing a mask to put one on.
Dozens of people, most wearing face coverings, make their way down the platform at Brighton station this morning
Some passengers were still not wearing face masks on this Jubilee Line train yesterday – although TfL says 90% of people are abiding by the rules
Passengers have been complaining on Twitter after seeing passengers failing to wear face masks on trains, Tubes and buses
Some public transport users have called for more enforcement – although the Government has said officials should advise people about the rules before issuing fines
Rail union warns of national strike unless the government keeps two-metre social distancing rule on public transport
A rail union leader is warning of a national strike unless the Government gives ‘unequivocal assurances’ that the social distancing rules across the transport network will remain at two metres.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) said the Government’s own review into the social distancing guidance clearly states that public transport presents a high risk due to prolonged indoor contact between large numbers of people from different households.
Social distancing will have been an issue today as crowds of passengers, looking to make the most of the hottest day of the year so far, were seen getting off trains at the railway station in Brighton, before making their way down to the beach.
Answering an urgent question in the Lords, Lady Vere said initial reports from transport operators suggested a ‘high level of compliance’ and strong public support for the measure.
But Labour’s Baroness McIntosh of Hudnall said she was surprised by the minister’s assertion as there was growing anecdotal evidence that many were not complying.
‘What will the Government do to ensure a strong, unambiguous message gets through to everyone,’ Lady McIntosh demanded.
Lady Vere said compliance was around 85% to 95% on rail.
Coming so ‘shortly after the mandation of these face coverings that’s a pretty good return’, she said.
But ministers were looking at ways of explaining and encouraging people to wear face masks.
‘At this moment in time, I think, heavy-handed enforcement would not be appropriate,’ Lady Vere added.
Liberal Democrat Lord Bradshaw said the Government’s policy was ‘killing’ public transport and urged ministers to stop giving the message that it was dangerous to use trains and buses.
Lord Bradshaw said it was important to wear face masks and not travel at the busiest times but the Government should draw attention to the ‘positives’ of public transport.
Lady Vere said she could not agree as using public transport now, except for essential journeys, could be counter productive and may risk the ability to control coronavirus.
Transport for London today said compliance with the new law was ’90 per cent plus’ (this photo was taken on the Jubilee Line yesterday)
Opposition spokesman Lord Rosser said that despite the impending reopening of pubs, hotels and cinemas, there had been no clear updated guidance on whether people could use public transport to reach these destinations.
Lady Vere said the Government was continually looking at the demand for transport and what capacity there was, to see if demand was in danger of exceeding supply.
‘If there is capacity on public transport it may well be that the Government’s messaging will change,’ she added.
‘But what we cannot do in the short term is suddenly open up public transport to everybody because there simply isn’t the capacity.’
Challenged over suggestions that passengers could be threatened if they asked others to wear face masks, the minister advised members of the public not to approach individuals themselves but speak to police or transport staff.
‘I don’t want members of the public putting themselves at risk in order to encourage people to wear face coverings,’ she told peers.
Your questions about the July 4 easing of coronavirus lockdown answered
The Prime Minister has announced a series of changes to the lockdown in England from July 4.
Here is how the alterations will affect people’s lives:
Do we have to keep to being two metres apart?
No. For people not from the same household it is now ‘one metre-plus’. The ‘plus’ element is what the PM called mitigation – wearing a mask, regularly washing hands, sitting side-by-side rather than face-to-face – if a two-metre distance cannot be kept to.
What other big changes were announced?
As well as reducing the social distancing requirement, Mr Johnson said two households would be able to start meeting indoors so long as the ‘one metre-plus’ rule is observed.
The household you choose to meet up with does not have to be exclusive, unlike in the ‘social bubbles’ announced recently to help ease loneliness.
It means a family could see one set of grandparents on one weekend and see the other on the following weekend, said the PM.
Can we finally hug our relatives?
If you do not live in the same household, the answer to that is still no.
Two households meeting for dinner can sit at the same table but still must not touch and should attempt to uphold the ‘one metre-plus’ rules.
Can we go anywhere else with another household?
It is a resounding ‘yes’ on this front.
Mr Johnson told MPs that restaurants, pubs and ‘self-contained accommodation’ including hotels, B&Bs and campsites can soon reopen, as long as Government guidelines on how to lower the risk of coronavirus transmission are followed.
So can we go on a trip or to the pub with friends in England?
As long as those friends are from only one other household, then you can take a ‘staycation’ trip together or go for a pint.
What will post-lockdown pubs and restaurants be like?
There will be no hanging out at the bar, first of all, with table service being encouraged to reduce the amount of interaction on shared surfaces.
Restaurant, pub and bar managers will also be asked to take customers’ contact details so that, in the event of a local Covid-19 outbreak, they can be traced by the NHS and advised to self-isolate.
While a trip to the pub is back on the cards, clinking glasses with a large group of friends inside is not.
While there is no limit on the size of the two households visiting the watering hole together, more people cannot join in the socialising in a bid to limit the chain of virus transmission.
What else can reopen from July 4?
The PM read out a lengthy list in the Commons of venues and attractions that can now benefit from the lockdown easing.
They include cinemas, museums, art galleries, bingo halls, community centres, hair salons, work canteens, outdoor playgrounds and gyms, as well as indoor attractions at zoos and aquariums.
Places of worship will be able to hold services once again, with weddings back on but numbers capped at 30.
Theatres and concert halls will be allowed to open but will be banned from playing live performances.
Hairdressers and barbers can operate while using use face visors.
And what will remain shut?
Venues where there is ‘close proximity’ interaction will not be permitted to open their doors yet, the PM said.
That includes nightclubs, indoor gyms, soft-play areas, swimming pools, spas, bowling alleys and water parks.
Instead taskforces will work to ensure such businesses can ‘reopen as soon as possible’.
Are there any changes to meeting up outside?
Outside restrictions remain largely the same, except that the two households now permitted to meet inside are welcome to do the same at the park, with no limit on the size of their gathering.
Groups not from the same household meeting up outside continue to be restricted to a maximum of six.
Should we continue to work from home?
While the Government has not talked up ending the working from home routine that thousands of office staff have adopted since March, the list of steps that could be taken to reduce virus transmission risk might encourage employers to start calling workers back in.
Mr Johnson said ‘reducing the number of people in enclosed spaces, improving ventilation, using protective screens and face coverings’ could all be deployed, on top of keeping a metre away from each other. He also suggested shift patterns could be changed so staff work in set teams.
Is this the end of lockdown, then?
Not fully. There are still restrictions in place but it is a significant easing and the new measures will allow people to socialise more than they have in months.
But the PM warned that local lockdowns, and even a clampdown affecting the whole country, could still be required if major Covid outbreaks occur.
Are these changes being brought in for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?
The devolved administrations ‘hold responsibility for their own lockdown restrictions’, Mr Johnson said on Tuesday, and would proceed ‘on their own judgment’.
Following the PM’s announcement, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told reporters the two-metre rule on social distancing would remain in place but that the Scottish Government had asked its scientific advisory group to review the measure.
In Northern Ireland, up to six people as of Tuesday are able to meet indoors in what the executive called a ‘milestone’ for the region’s recovery.
Wales allowed shops and places of worship to open this week, along with the housing market, but First Minister Mark Drakeford has said his administration will not end its five-mile restriction on travel and allow holidaymakers to return until next month.
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