No passengers have yet been fined for not wearing a face mask on Transport for London services, 15 days after the Government made them mandatory for everyone.
Photographs taken on the London Underground in rush hour today showed there is still non-compliance with the rule which aims to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Passengers were mostly sat apart while commuting on the Jubilee line, but many had a face mask pulled below their mouth while some were wearing no covering at all However it was not clear whether anyone not wearing a mask is in an exempt group.
It comes as Conservative MP James Sunderland said it was ‘dispiriting’ that people were still breaching the rule as the UK’s lockdown measures are gradually eased.
TfL has suggested that fines were not yet being handed out to flouters in the capital because staff are not ‘confident customers understand the new requirements’.
A woman not wearing a face mask looks at her phone on a Jubilee line train in London today
A man holds onto a handrail on a Jubilee line train this morning while not wearing a mask
A passenger wears a mask below his mouth on a London Underground train this morning
A man looks at his phone while commuting on a Jubilee line service today with no face mask
Former military medic Donna Sargent tweeted TfL this morning, asking: ‘Hey TfL. how’s about you start enforcing wearing a mask on public transport rule?
‘I didn’t spend ten weeks working in ITU treating Covid-19 patients for selfish a***holes to flout the rule and continue spreading this s***ty virus.’
Who does not have to wear a face covering on Transport for London stations and services?
The following people are exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering on TfL’s stations, platforms and services:
- Children under the age of 11
- Employees of, or persons providing agreed services to, TfL
- Police constables (including British Transport Police) officers acting in the course of their duty
- Members or employees of the emergency services responding to an emergency
A person will have a reasonable excuse and will not be required to wear a face covering in the following circumstances:
- Where a person cannot put on, wear, or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability (within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010), or without severe distress
- Where a person is providing a lip-reading service to a person they are travelling with
- Where a person removes their face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to themselves or others
- Where a person is travelling to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and does not have a face covering with them
- If it is reasonably necessary for a person to eat and drink, and the person removes their face covering to eat or drink
- Where a person is required to remove the face covering by a police constable (including a British Transport Police officer) or another authorised person
TfL, whose chairman is Mayor Sadiq Khan, responded to her, saying: ‘Initially we will be engaging with customers and explaining that there is a requirement to wear a face covering on public transport.
‘Once we are confident customers understand the new requirements, enforcement, which may include being refused entry or being fined, will start.
‘Enforcement on the use of face coverings remains the responsibility of our policing partners and enforcement officers.’
TfL’s press office has also been asked for comment by MailOnline today.
Speaking in the House of Commons last night, Bracknell MP Mr Sunderland said it was ‘dispiriting to see packed beaches, passengers without face masks on public transport and other mass gatherings.’
There are some people who are exempt from the rule, including children under the age of 11, police in the course of their duty and members of the emergency services responding to an incident.
Face masks become mandatory on public transport in England on June 15, with people warned they face a fine of £100 if caught not wearing one.
Some 3,000 British Transport Police officers were deployed to the busiest rail stations in the first week of the new rules to ensure passengers were complying.
Constables have been told they have the power to use ‘reasonable force’ to pull passengers off trains and buses if they refuse to wear face masks.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council and the College of Policing said those who flout the restrictions risk £100 fines but these should only be issued as a ‘last resort’.
Police are so far taking a soft approach with people gently reminded of the rules, but could resort to tougher enforcement as passengers numbers rise.
The new rules were enshrined under the same public health legislation used to fine people who flouted lockdown rules at the beginning of the outbreak.
This means it is the responsibility of police, and not transport staff, to enforce them. BTP has so far failed to say whether it has issued a single fine, and has again been asked about the matter today.
The mask rule was announced by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps on June 4. It was timed to coincide with the reopening of non-essential shops in England.
He said it was needed to help control the spread of the virus, but ministers and scientists have been divided on the public health benefits of wearing face masks.
Transport for London has suggested that fines were not yet being handed out to flouters in the capital because staff are not ‘confident customers understand the new requirements’
A man reads a newspaper while not wearing his mask during his commute on the Tube today
Some commuters wear masks while others have them pulled down below their mouth today
A man commutes with his mask below his mouth on a London Underground train this morning
Last week Mr Shapps announced that public transport services in England will be ramped up over the next few weeks as the lockdown is eased.
Bus and train timetables will be increased to 85 per cent of pre-pandemic levels by next Monday, but people will still be urged to avoid using them where possible.
Large parts of England’s hospitality industry will reopen on July 4, including pubs, restaurants, hotels and visitor attractions.
Indoor gatherings involving two separate households will be permitted from the same date.
A man looks at his phone while travelling on the Tube today with his mask below his mouth
A commuter travels without wearing a face mask on the London Underground this morning
British Transport Police are pictured on a Great Western Railway train from from Worcester to Gloucester this morning. They said they were ‘encouraging the use of face coverings’
Meanwhile the RAC said a third of drivers will take to the road this weekend to celebrate the easing of the lockdown.
More than 10million Britons will be escaping their homes for an overnight stay on Saturday, the motoring group’s poll found.
Officials are now braced for chaos on what is expected to be the busiest weekend on the roads this year, as many choose to avoid public transport for fear of infection.
It marks a stark contrast to two months ago, when the traffic on the roads plummeted to mid-1950s levels.
How can you make your own cloth face covering?
The following is the official UK advice on how to wear and make a cloth face covering
Wearing a face covering
A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off and after use. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.
Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.
You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.
When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.
Making your own face covering
Using a T-shirt
You will need:
an old T-shirt that you do not want anymore (ideally size small or extra small)
Step 1: Cut a straight line across the width of the T-shirt (front and back) approximately 20cm from the bottom of the T-shirt.
Step 2: From a point 2cm below the top right-hand corner of the fabric, make a 15cm horizontal cut through both sides of the fabric that is parallel to the top of the rectangle.
Step 3: Cut down towards the bottom of the fabric until you reach approximately 2cm above the bottom edge. From here, make another 15cm cut that runs parallel to the bottom of the fabric to make a rectangle that can be discarded.
Step 4: To make the ties, cut open the edge of the 2 long strips of fabric. Unfold the main piece of fabric and place over the mouth and the nose. The 4 strips act as ties to hold the cloth face covering in place and should be tied behind the head and around the neck.
A sewn cloth face covering
You will need:
two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric
two 20cm pieces of elastic (or string or cloth strips)
needle and thread
Items you need for a sewn cloth face covering
Step 1: Cut out two 25cm x 25cm squares of cotton fabric. Stack the 2 squares on top of each other.
Step 2: Fold over one side by 3/4 cm and hem, then repeat on the opposite side. Make 2 channels by folding the double layer of fabric over 1.5cm along each side and stitching this down.
Step 3: Run a 20cm length of elastic (or string or cloth strip) through the wider hem on each side of the face covering. These will be the ear loops. Use a large needle to thread it through. Tie the ends tightly.
If you only have string, you can make the ties longer and tie the covering behind your head.
Step 4: Gently pull on the elastic so that the knots are tucked inside the hem. Gather the sides of the covering on the elastic and adjust so the covering fits your face. Then securely stitch the elastic in place to keep it from slipping. These elastic loops fit over the ears.
This information is a guide to making a simple face covering. We do not endorse any particular method and other instructions are widely available online. Always take care to use equipment safely to avoid injury. Children should only follow these instructions under the supervision of adults.