Thousands of extra police and staff have been deployed across England’s public transport network today as new rules which make wearing face coverings compulsory come in to play.
The strict new law means passengers on Tubes, buses, trains and planes must wear a face covering from today or risk being turned away, or being slapped with a £100 fine.
But within hours of the rule coming in, passengers were seen attempting to enter stations without face-coverings while one man was seen with his mask pushed up onto his forehead and not over his mouth while on sittong on a Tube.
Police officers have also been seen handing out masks to those attempting to enter stations without one.
It comes as more than 3,000 extra staff, including police officers, have been brought in to enforce the rule – which applies to all passengers on trains, buses, Tubes, coaches, trams, planes or ferries. Children under the age of 11 and those with certain health conditions or disabilities are exempt.
One passenger who travelled on a tube today and saw ‘everyone wearing a mask’ said the measure was ‘reassuring’.
The new rule comes as the government continues to strip back its draconian lockdown laws in place of looser restrictions, which included allowing people to meet with friends inside a ‘social bubble’ – which was brought in at the weekend.
Non-essential shops are also set to open today for the first time since March when the lockdown rules were imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus.
As Britain continued to push its way out of coronavirus lockdown:
- Queues of people were seen outside Primark in Liverpool as the fashion retailer prepared to open for the first time today since March
- Budget airline EasyJet completed its first flight since grounding its entire fleet in March after lockdown rules were introduced
- GCSE and A-Level students returned to schools – but only a quarter of Year 10 and 12 students are allowed on site due to social distancing
- Ministers looking to review the two-metre social distancing rule say it will ‘take weeks’ to come to a decision, as hospitality chiefs warned of mass redundancies if the measures were not changed
- Police launched an investigation yesterday after 6,000 people attended three lockdown-defying raves in the north of England on Saturday – in which one person died of a suspected drug overdose, three people were stabbed and an 18-year-old woman was raped
Passengers on public transport across England must wear a face-covering from today or risk being turned away, or being slapped with a £100 fine. Pictured: Passengers arrive at Waterloo Station in London today
But within hours of the rules coming in, passengers have already been seen entering stations without them. Pictured: British Transport police speak to two passengers not wearing face masks at North Acton Station in London
Police officers have also been seen handing out masks to those entering stations without one. Pictured: A police officer hands out a face mask to a passenger in Canning Town, London
The rules apply to all passengers on trains, buses, Tubes, coaches, trams, planes or ferries. Pictured: Passengers wear face coverings on a tube in Canning Town in London
More than 3,000 extra staff, including police officers have been brought in to enforce the rules. Pictured: A passenger on a Central Line tube has a face covering, but not over his mouth, on a tube in London
Face masks are being handed out at tube stations across the capital today, including at Vauxhall Underground station in London
Many passengers are following the rules which have been introduced today. Here all the passengers pictured at Leeds railway station are wearing face coverings
The same can be said in Waterloo station in London where all of the passengers coming off a train were seen wearing face masks
Passengers wearing face coverings come off a train at Waterloo in London. One man appears not to be wearing a face mask in the picture
The rules come as the government continues to strips back its draconian lockdown laws in place of looser restrictions, which included allowing people to meet with friends inside a ‘social bubble’. Pictured: Commuters walk past a sign at Waterloo station in London reminding passengers to wear a face covering
It also comes after the government changed its stance on the use of face masks, which they say should now be compulsory on public transport – bringing the rules in-line with the World Health Organisation (WHO).
EasyJet takes to the skies today for the first time since March 30 with flights back at Gatwick
EasyJet took to the skies again today for the first time since its planes were grounded on March 30 – with passengers facing a raft of new coronavirus safety measures including mandatory face masks and an alcohol ban.
Pictures from the first flight this morning showed a crowded service with no room for people to observe six-feet social distancing rules, prompting some Twitter users to complain it was ‘absolute madness’.
Passengers wearing face masks arrive to board a plane as EasyJet restarts it operation today
However, the airline’s boss Johan Lundgren said he would feel ‘100% safe’ due to the steps it had taken to protect customers.
The plane, from London Gatwick to Glasgow, landed just after 8am, as easyJet resumed mainly domestic routes between British and European cities. There are two foreign routes from Belfast to Faro and Gatwick to Nice.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘People should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. But, as restrictions are carefully eased when it is safe to do so, it’s likely that we will see more people needing to use public transport.
‘So, while respecting social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene remain the most important steps we can all take to stay safe, wearing a face covering can play a role in helping us to protect each other.
‘This is about the small changes we can take to help control the virus, which is why I urge everyone using transport to wear a face covering, to help keep us all safer.’
Today, one passenger, cleaner Dani Kostova, 42, travelled from her home in Beckton, East London to central London this morning.
Exiting out of Marble Arch tube station, wearing a surgical face mask, she said: ‘It’s a good thing that people are now being made to cover their faces on the underground.
‘You don’t know what people may have so to be extra cautious I’m in total agreement with, particularly as coronavirus seems to be going down now in London.
‘I’ve been travelling on the tube for a few weeks now and before today not everyone wore a mask. There’d be maybe 3-4 people in a carriage who weren’t covering their face.
‘This morning everyone I saw, commuters and tube staff, all had a mask on and it was very reassuring.’
The new rules only apply for passengers while in transport, rather than for those who are waiting at bus stops and stations.
They do not apply in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland – where their governments are only recommending people cover their faces on public transport.
Passengers are also encouraged to social distance and wash their hands, while the government still recommends people to work from home where possible.
The new rule comes as experts predict transport capacity to rise to 20 per cent on the railways next month.
Today EasyJet took to the skies again today for the first time since its planes were grounded on March 30 – with passengers facing a raft of new coronavirus safety measures including mandatory face masks and an alcohol ban.
It also comes after the government changed its stance on the use of face masks, which they say should now be compulsory on public transport – bringing the rules in-line with the World Health Organisation (WHO). Pictured: Passengers at Canning Town tube station wear face mask
Thousands of extra police and public transport staff have been deployed to enforce the new rule. Pictured: A Transport for London worker hands out face masks at a Tube station
Children under the age of 11 and those with certain health conditions or disabilities are exempt from the new rules. Pictured: Passengers arrive at Canning Town station in London
On roads in London, congestion has risen once again today, up to 27 per cent this morning, compared to 21 per cent at the same time last week. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the A3 in London
It was a similar picture in Manchester, where congestion was up by two per cent, from 12 per cent last week, and in Birmingham, where congestion jumped slightly from 11 per cent to 12 per cent today, compared to the same time last week. Pictured: Heavy traffic on the A3 in London today
LONDON: A Tom Tom graph shows the traffic congestion in London today. They show congestion up in London by six percent at around 8am compared to last week
LONDON: A Tom Tom graph showing a weekly look at the traffic trends across London – which show a spike around 8am today
MANCHESTER: London is not the only place where congestion is on the rise. Pictured: A graph showing a rise in traffic congestion in Manchester over the last 48 hours
LEEDS-BRADFORD: Similar to both London and Manchester, there were an increase in congestion around 8am today, while congestion has continued to rise throughout the day
LIVERPOOL: Traffic congestion in Liverpool has similarly risen around 8am today and continued to rise throughout the day
PORTSMOUTH: The Tom Tom graph shows a rise around 8am today, while congestion has slowly risen since then in Portsmouth
The first flight, from London Gatwick to Glasgow, landed just after 8am, as the airline resumed mainly domestic flights between British and European cities. There are also two foreign routes from Belfast to Faro and Gatwick to Nice.
Meanwhile, on roads in London, congestion has risen once again today, up to 27 per cent this morning, compared to 21 per cent at the same time last week.
Demand for motorbikes, scooters and mopeds TRIPLES on Auto Trader as commuters switch to two-wheeled alternatives to public transport
The demand for motorbikes, scooters and mopeds has spiked as commuters try to avoid public transport in order to get to and from work, figures have today revealed.
Online motor marketplace Auto Trader says the number of inquiries made to those selling mopeds on the site has tripled compared to same time last year.
The number of views for mopeds has also increased by 48 per cent year-on-year in the first week of June.
The number of views increased by a third in the last week of May, while there was a similar rise in those looking at motorbikes, Auto Trader said.
It was a similar picture in Manchester, where congestion was up by two per cent, from 12 per cent last week, and in Birmingham, where congestion jumped slightly from 11 per cent to 12 per cent today, compared to the same time last week.
All figures are significantly down from the same time last year, when the country was not in lockdown.
Meanwhile maps data shows that the number of people walking, driving and using public transport has slowly risen since the lockdown was imposed in March.
Figures for people using public transport dropped to as low as -80 per cent of Apple’s base figure at the end of March, but has now risen back to around -60 per cent.
The number of people walking dropped as low as -70 per cent during lockdown, but has now risen to near -20 per cent as of June 13, while the number of people cycling has also risen to a similar figure.
The national picture is reflected in London, where, on Saturday, the number of people walking has risen to -20 per cent, the number driving peaked around -30 per cent and reached near to -60 per cent.
The picture is also similar in Manchester and Birmingham, though the number of people using public transport actually fell in the Midlands city on Saturday.
Today’s new public transport rule comes in as Boris Johnson urged the country to return to the high street and ‘shop with confidence’ when non-essential stores reopen today with huge price cuts.
The Prime Minister said he was ‘very optimistic’ that the lifting of restrictions would help the economy bounce back from three months of coronavirus lockdown.
Maps data from tech giant Apple shows how the number of Britons getting out and about continues to rise as coronavirus lockdown laws are loosened
The national picture is reflected in London, where, on Saturday, the number of people walking has risen to -20 per cent, the number driving peaked around -30 per cent and reached near to -60 per cent
The picture is also similar in Manchester and Birmingham, though the number of people using public transport actually fell in the Midlands city on Saturday
In Manchester, the number of people walking and driving reached -20 per cent of the baseline figure on Saturday, while the number of people using public transport has largely remained the same
Face coverings DO work: Study of coronavirus outbreak on a US warship finds infection rate was 56% for personnel wearing masks and 81% for those without
Face coverings do protect people from catching the coronavirus and may even work better than social distancing, a study on-board a US warship found.
Scientists closely monitored what happened on the USS Theodore Roosevelt when coronavirus broke out among military personnel on it in March.
More than 1,000 of the ship’s nearly 4,900 crew members tested positive for Covid-19 during the self-contained outbreak.
And results from a study which was done at the time showed that only 55.8 per cent of people who regularly wore a face covering caught the disease, compared to 80.8 per cent of those who didn’t – a 25 per cent reduction.
Masks actually appeared to be more effective at stopping the spread of the disease than social distancing, which cut the infection rate from 70 per cent to 54.4 per cent (15.6 per cent drop).
Stores including Zara, John Lewis and Debenhams have slashed prices by as much as 70 per cent in a bid to lure shoppers back.
Desperate fashion chains are sitting on as much as £15billion of unsold stock they are keen to shift.
Speaking during a visit to the Westfield shopping centre in east London yesterday, the PM said he hoped to see a ‘gradual’ build-up of people visiting the high street.
‘I am very optimistic about the opening up that’s going to be happening,’ he said.
‘I think people should shop and shop with confidence but they should of course observe the rules on social distancing and do it as safely as possible.’
Last night it emerged that Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering a VAT cut to stimulate spending following concerns that social-distancing rules and anxious shoppers will keep sales figures low, The Times reports.
Furthermore, half of Britain’s shoppers could avoid the high street tomorrow with four in ten spending less money than they did pre-lockdown, according to a YouGov poll for The Daily Telegraph.
Just 40 per cent said they were up for going back to clothing shops while half said they were ‘uncomfortable’ about it, sparking further concerns for the future of retailers who struggled to stay afloat in the coronavirus crisis.
Outlets will offer hand sanitiser stations and many will enforce infection control by quarantining unbought items for 72 hours after they have been handled.
Store martials in high-vis jackets and PPE will ensure shoppers are kept two metres apart, browsing and handling items will be discouraged and there will be a plea not to use cash.
There will also be limits on the numbers allowed through the door, which means queues are likely.
The facts around the government’s new face covering on public transport rule which came into force today
What is new?
Legislation called The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020 came into force on Monday.
What does this mean?
It is mandatory to wear a face covering – meaning anything which covers someone’s nose and mouth – while using public transport unless you have a reasonable excuse.
The rules apply in England and in English airspace or sea where passengers are due to arrive in the country.
Public transport is defined as “any service for the carriage of passengers which is available to the general public” and includes buses, coaches, trams, ferries, aircraft, trains, the London Underground and water taxis.
The law does not apply to anyone who is completing a journey on public transport which began before June 15.
Are there any exceptions?
Taxis or other private hire vehicle services, school transport and cruise ships are exempt from the rules.
Children under the age of 11, operator staff, transport officials, police officers and other emergency service workers while on duty also do not have to comply.
If someone is in a cabin or “other similar accommodation” alone or with members of their household (including a permitted household they are linked to) or they are staying inside a vehicle while using public transport, they are exempt.
People who cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering without severe distress or because of a physical or mental illness or impairment or disability have a reasonable excuse – meaning they are exempt from the rules.
The law does not apply to lip readers travelling with another person who relies on them to communicate.
Face coverings can be removed to avoid harm or injury or the risk of this to themselves or others, and if they do not have one with them because they are travelling to avoid injury or flee a risk of harm.
If it is “reasonably necessary” to eat or drink, in order to take medication, or they are requested to remove a face covering by police or officials.
What happens if I do not wear a face covering without a reasonable excuse?
You could be stopped from boarding public transport, taken off a service or told to put on a face covering and told to make sure children in your care, who are older than 11, comply.
Police can use “reasonable force” if necessary to ensure someone follows the instructions.
But according to guidance issued to police forces, the regulations “do not give officers the power to direct the removal of a face covering or the ability to forcibly remove a face covering from the wearer” although other powers may apply.
You could also be hit with a £100 fine, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days, or even prosecuted.
How long are the rules in place?
The Government must review the regulations within six months and the law expires after a year, if not already scrapped.