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Face coverings required on public transport starting June 15

11th June 2020

Starting on June 15, people who ride on public transport will be required to wear "face coverings". These face coverings are not required to be face masks with a high level of filtration. Homemade cloth masks will suffice.

“As of Monday 15 June, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport,” Shapps told the daily press conference. “That doesn’t mean surgical masks, which we must keep for clinical settings, it means the kind of face-covering you can easily make at home.

Currently, fewer than 4 in 10 people wear face masks on public transport. In some areas, less than 10% of the public wears them on public transport.

In Glasgow, out of 98 travellers, 18 were wearing face coverings, usually ready-made reusable masks rather than scarves or other cloth items. They were worn by an equal number of men and women, and mainly by middle-aged people.

Where must you wear masks in England?

The new rules apply to public transport. They do not, however, apply to people who enter shops (which are also due to reopen on June 15). The new regulation to wear face masks on public transit was enacted because ministers believe the masks will prevent people who are asymptomatic from spreading the virus.

The shops, while not required to enforce the wearing of face masks, are expected to impose strict hygienic guidelines and enforce measures to reduce the chance of spreading the coronavirus. Such measures include social distancing and frequent disinfection of surfaces.

Can I be fined for not wearing a mask?

Yes, you could be fined.

Anyone breaking lockdown rules currently faces a £60 fine. And from Monday anyone breaking mandatory 14-day quarantines when coming into the UK will face a fine of up to £1000. Priti Patel has confirmed there will be spot checks.

What if I have breathing difficulties?

According to the same Sun article linked above, you will not be required to wear a face mask if you have breathing difficulties. Also, as a reminder, masks are not required walking outdoors or while exercising, attending school or in office buildings. Masks are only required on public transit.

What type of masks should be worn?

The requirement is that people who ride on public transport wear a face covering. This can range anywhere between a homemade cloth mask to a n99 mask capable of filtering 99% of airborne particles. The level of protection you wear is up to you. Below are your options.

Homemade masks

Here are instructions on how to make your own face masks. These can be fashioned out of cotton fabric such as you would find in an unused shirt. Homemade face masks are sufficient to meet the new requirements imposed upon those who want to ride public transport.

Surgical masks

The cheapest type of mask you can buy are surgical masks. They come in bundles of 50 for as low as £34.99. While they do not provide the high filtration levels of N95 and N99 masks, they are comfortable to wear, disposable and meet the requirements to ride public transport.

N95 masks

If you are an individual who is at high risk of catching the coronavirus due to age or compromised immune system, you may be interested in a mask that can filter 95% of airborne particles. This type of mask is also recommended for those who are exposed to people who are known to have COVID-19, such as hospital workers. These types of masks provide a higher level of filtration while being more expensive and perhaps less comfortable than other types of masks. 10 of these masks will currently run you £32.99 from UK Meds at the time of writing.

N99 masks

The highest level of filtration offered at UK Meds come in the form of N99 masks, also called FFP3 masks. These masks filter out 99% of airborne particles the size of respiration droplets, which is the method by which the coronavirus is spread. 5 of these masks currently cost £72.99 from UK Meds at the time of writing.