Wearing face coverings on public transport

An update on the new law about wearing face masks when on public transport, and who is exempt.
face masks

From 15 June 2020, it has now become the law that you must wear a face covering when travelling in England on a bus or coach, train or tram, ferry or hovercraft or other vessel, aircraft or cable car. All passengers must wear a face covering, unless you are exempt.

A face covering is a covering of any type which covers your nose and mouth.

People who are exempt from wearing a face covering

The list includes:

  • a child under the age of 11
  • passengers who remain in their private vehicle or allocated cabin while on board public transport, for example on a car ferry
  • an employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • a police officer acting in the course of their duty
  • an emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty

You also do not need to wear a face covering if you have a good reason not to. This includes:

  • not being able to put on, wear or remove a face covering because of a physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability
  • if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering will cause you severe distress
  • if you are travelling with or providing assistance to someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to yourself or others
  • to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • to eat or drink, but only if you need to
  • to take medication
  • if a police officer or other official requests you to remove your face covering

Exemption cards

To support people who are exempt, there are free cards you can download and print out. You can show these to bus drivers, train guards, etc to let them know that you are exempt from wearing a face covering. Find out more on the Keep Safe website.

Read more

Currently, is it not the law to wear face coverings in health services such as hospitals, although if you can, you are recommended to.

Find out more

Get more information on travelling safely from the Government website.

Safer travel guidance for passengers

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