Face coverings mandatory on public transport in England from 15 June, Grant Shapps announces
The plans will come into force in England on 15 June
Grant Shapps has said face coverings will become mandatory for all people using public transport in England from 15 June.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing, the Transport Secretary said the plans were being brought in to prevent the spread of the illness as more shops and workplaces begin to open later this month.
Mr Shapps said those wishing to travel would be required to wear a face covering.
But he insisted this did not mean they should use surgical masks, which were being saved for frontline medical workers.
Announcing the measures, the Cabinet minister said the plans were part of a "deliberate approach" to avoid a second spike of the disease.
And he said the scientific advice showed the use of face coverings provided "some, albeit limited" protection from the virus.
"I can announce that as of Monday the June 15, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport," he said.
"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.
"There’ll be exemptions to these rules for very young children, for disabled people, and those with breathing difficulties.
"But, broadly, as we come through this phase we’re doing what many other countries have asked transport users to do.
He added: "And as passenger numbers increase, and we expect this trend to continue, we need to ensure every precaution is taken on buses, trains, aircraft and on ferries.
"With more people using transport, the evidence suggests that wearing face-coverings offers some, albeit limited, protection against the spread of the virus.
"A face covering helps protect our fellow passengers. It’s something that we can each do to help each other."
And he warned those who refused to wear them would be denied services and could face fines.
Responding to the announcement, London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he was glad the Government had "seen sense" and adopted the plans.
"Transport for London continues to work hard to maximise services despite staff being ill, shielding or self-isolating," he said.
But he added: "The reality is that due to social distancing the effective capacity of public transport services has been dramatically reduced.
"We can only carry between 13% - 15% of passengers.
"We all must play our part by working from home if we can and making journeys on foot or by bike if at all possible in order to keep the service safe for those who really need it."