Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, announced this week that the Government will be making face coverings mandatory on public transport from Monday 15th June.
The government has clarified that ‘face coverings’ are not the same as surgical masks, stating:
“A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment.
“These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings.”
All Wightlink customers will be required to carry a face covering with them at all times – and will be required to wear it if not staying in a vehicle – when travelling on their ferries.
Wightlink’s Chief Executive, Keith Greenfield, said:
“The government has announced that all public transport users should wear face coverings from 15 June. Wightlink will require customers to wear face coverings whenever they are not in a vehicle on board our ferries or in one of our customer buildings. We are asking all of our customers to bring face coverings with them.”
“On most of our sailings customers will remain in their vehicles and do not need to wear a face covering while they are in a vehicle. Customers will be required to wear a face covering when in our lounges and on our sun decks, where we have ample space and seating for those not in a vehicle.”
Hovertravel passengers will also be required to wear face coverings from Monday 15th June. The changes in the law, through legislation such as the National Rail Conditions of Travel and Public Service Vehicle Regulations, require public transport operators to refuse travel for those who fail to wear a face covering.
Passengers using Hovertravel will be required by law to wear their face coverings for their entire journey including:
- when entering and whilst in Hovertravel’s terminals at Southsea and Ryde,
- during boarding and disembarking the hovercraft,
- whilst on the hovercraft for the entire journey,
- on the hoverpads at Ryde and Southsea
Hovertravel passengers who do not wear face coverings will be refused travel. Exemptions to the rule include young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties.
Red Funnel say they welcome the move by Rt Hon Grant Shapps, MP and hopes that passengers will start to adopt best practice right away.
When the new law comes into effect Red Funnel will have to refuse travel for any passengers not wearing a face covering.
As defined in the latest advice, the rule applies to all passengers with a few exceptions. Exclusions are permitted for children under the age of two or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions. There will also be exceptions for people with disabilities or breathing difficulties.
Fran Collins, CEO, Red Funnel said:
“The safety of our passengers and staff remains our top priority and we have taken on board the advice that face coverings offer some protection against the spread of the virus, especially as more people start to use public transport, including our ferries.
“As the new rule comes into effect from 15 June, we feel it’s important for our passengers to get used to this change now in the hope that once enforcement comes into effect, it will be a normal routine. On top of this, we continue to urge our customers to follow government guidelines on social distancing and refrain from using public transportation, including our ferries, unless for essential reasons only.”
At the beginning of the week, Southern Vectis said,
“Evidence suggests that face coverings may protect others if you are infected with Covid-19, but have not yet developed symptoms – and the Government has advised people to wear them in enclosed spaces.
“Although our drivers will not turn you away if you don’t have one, we all have a personal responsibility to follow the guidance and wear some form of face covering on-board buses if we can. They can be handmade if need be.”
News OnTheWight asked the Isle of Wight council earlier today whether face masks would be required to be worn on the Cowes Floating Bridge, but at time of publishing the press office were still seeking answers from officers.
At time of publishing there had been no statement issued by Island Line Trains.
How to wear and make a cloth face covering
The Government have issued guidance on how to wear and make a cloth face covering.
The covering should cover your nose and mouth, whilst still allowing you to breath.
See the Government site for further details.