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Who is exempt from wearing a face mask on public transport?

Who is exempt from wearing a face mask on public transport?

BABIES, disabled people and anyone with breathing difficulties are among those who don’t have to wear a face mask or covering on public transport.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announced on June 4 that from June 15, everyone will have to cover up when they go on the train, bus or tube.

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Face masks now have to be worn my most people on public transport
Getty Images – Getty

Travellers will be refused boarding if they are not wearing one, or told to get off.

Grant Shapps said: “I can announce that as of Monday 15 June, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport.

“The evidence suggests that wearing a face masks offers some, limited protection.

“You can be refused travel if you don’t comply and you could be fined.

“It’s a condition of travel. You cannot travel if you are not wearing a face covering.”

Mr Shapps added: “There will be exceptions to these rules for very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties.”

According to the official Government guidance, the following groups are not required to wear a face covering while using public transport:

  • A child under the age of 11
  • An employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
  • Any other person providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services
  • A constable or police community support 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
  • An official, for example a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
  • If you are allocated a cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, at any time when you are in that accommodation, either alone, or only with members of your own household or a linked household
  • If you are on board public transport but remain in your private vehicle, for example on a car ferry
Failure to adhere to the rules could result in a £100 fine
Getty Images – Getty

There are also a series of factors which the Government describes as a “reasonable excuse”, which also mean you don’t have to wear a mask:

  • If you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
  • If putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
  • If you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
  • If you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
  • If you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
  • If you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
  • If you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard
  • According to the website Autism Eye, these rules around “reasonable excuses” also cover passengers with autism.


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