Union: Government too late with mask advice, should be mandatory

Train operators will still expect customers to wear face masks in stations and on trains, as here at London Paddington.

The TSSA trade union has criticised the government, claiming it hesitated on encouraging mask-wearing on public transport.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said he welcomed a recent recommendation that everyone wears masks on public transport, but he said that “it’s too little too late” from Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps MP.

Manuel Cortes, TSSA.

“If the Transport Secretary knows now that wearing face coverings protects transport workers and passengers, he must have been aware of that days ago – yet still we had dither and delay,” Cortes said.

“The best thing government could do now is to make the wearing of face coverings mandatory across our public transport network. It’s not enough in what remains a health emergency for ministers to simply hand down recommendations.

“Our industry and the wider public need and expect clarity and leadership – both of which are sorely lacking.”

Train companies in England have worked together to ensure there is a consistent approach to wearing face coverings on National Rail after 19 July 2021. Operators have stated that they will be implementing the government’s new guidance and at a minimum expecting customer to wear a face covering in crowded spaces, out of respect for others.

Operators have also worked closely with devolved transport authorities to ensure that, when passengers switch to other services, they have clear information about what is expected.

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