NEWS.CATEGORY: Health and safety

Union sounds warning as public transport face coverings become compulsory

The word "coronavirus" with a picture of an animated man on the side.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, has warned that the compulsory use of face coverings on public transport in England from today must "not be seen as a green light" for wider use of public transport or the ditching of social distancing measures.

He also made it clear that police, rather than frontline transport workers, must ensure the new rules are adhered to.

Coverings must now be worn on buses, trams, trains, coaches, aircraft and ferries – though very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties will be exempt.

Manuel Cortes said: 

"The changes in the rules are welcome as they are likely to lower transmission of the virus on the transport network. However, this must not be seen as a green light among the wider population to use public transport.

"It must remain the case that only the key workers who are keeping us safe during the pandemic continue to use public transport.

"It’s also important to stress that a physical distance of at least two metres between passengers and/or staff must be maintained at all times. This remains the most effective measure to control the spread of Covid-19.

"Our union is all too aware of the dangers of this pandemic to transport workers on the frontline – given the tragic death of Belly Mujinga and others.

"I’d urge the public to fully comply with the new face covering measures for everyone’s sake. However, if they fail to do so it is the job of the police, rather than our members to enforce these public health instructions."