The Mayor of London has asked TfL to make mask-wearing a prerequisite for catching public transport in the capital.
Mask-wearing might not be mandated under the government’s terms for July 19 (or ‘Freedom Day’, if you’d prefer), but the rules in London won’t be changing dramatically. Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has asked TfL to keep face coverings as a condition of travel when catching buses, Tubes, and TfL trains in London, so as to continue protecting Londoners from Covid-19.
Though the latest government guidance has dropped mandatory mask-wearing, government figures such as Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Sajid Javid stressed that they would be “expected and recommended”. However, by leaving the choice in the hands of the people, it runs the risk of mask-wearing rates dropping, and thus heightening the rate of Covid-19 transmission. This is something Khan isn’t willing to leave up to chance, stating that “I’m not prepared to stand by and put Londoners, and our city’s recovery, at risk.”
In a statement released this morning, the Mayor said that “By keeping face masks mandatory, we will give Londoners and visitors the reassurance and confidence they need to make the most of what our city has to offer, while also protecting our heroic transport workers and those who may be vulnerable and rely on the network to get around the city.” Medical exemptions to mask-wearing will continue to apply; anyone not exempt will be expected to follow the rules as a ‘condition of carriage’, which are the rules and duties you’re expected to follow as a TfL customer, including not smoking, not drinking, and generally not being a dick.
The mask-wearing rule will extend across the Tube, bus, tram, DLR, Overground, and TfL Rail services, and TfL have also been asked to extend the measures to taxis and private hire vehicles. The Mayor said that the mask rules would provide “an extra layer of protection” for Londoners and visitors, and that TfL compliance officers would continue to enforce the rules. Even though the hospitalisation rate for Covid-19 is becoming more manageable as vaccinations take effect, Covid cases are still rising, so it’s on us to keep those masks up and help get London life back to normal as quickly as we can.
Also published on Medium.