As England enters step 4 of the unlocking process, transport and travel union TSSA warns of the need to maintain Covid control measures to protect staff and passengers.
England’s unlocking removes the legal requirement for protections such as wearing face coverings and social distancing, yet the messages are mixed.
In London, face coverings remain a condition of carriage on Transport for London (TfL) services, and the government has asked the public to be cautious and ‘recommends’ wearing face coverings in crowded indoor spaces.
In the rail industry, no control measures for employees will be removed until a joint risk assessment is completed, with no changes at all expected this week (w/c 19 July). Rail staff will continue to wear face coverings, maintain social distancing, and protections such as screens and heightened cleaning regimes remain in place.
Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said:
"Today – far from being 'freedom day' – has already been dubbed 'disaster day'. The mixed messages and inconsistencies from government are deeply irresponsible and could prove to be deadly.
"We are in the throes of another spike of coronavirus so everyone should continue to follow the modest safety measures of wearing face coverings, social distancing and hand washing. In the rail industry, we have secured a joint approach to risk assessing any changes to control measures and we will continue to put our members’ safety first.
"Sadly, the mixed messages from this government are putting people at risk. And the arrogance of the Prime Minister and Chancellor in their attempt to dodge isolation exposes their sense of entitlement and hypocrisy while also undermining the efforts to restrict transmission of coronavirus. We are in precarious times."
A YouGov poll has found that three in five public transport users will feel uncomfortable using it after England’s bonfire of restrictions today.