Face coverings will become compulsory for everyone travelling on public transport in Wales from Monday July 27, First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
The change in the law will also apply to taxis and will help to protect people from the risk of coronavirus when travelling on public transport, when it is not always possible to maintain a 2m physical distance.
It comes after the Welsh Government introduced new changes to the 2m physical distancing duty, setting out the measures all businesses, including public transport operators, must put in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus.
But due to the amount of available physical space on buses and trains and in taxis, it can be much harder to introduce physical changes and for people to maintain a 2m distance from each other at all times, than in other public places.
First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Every hour, buses, trains and taxis move across our porous border with England, where the use of face coverings is mandatory on public transport.
“For the sake of simplicity and consistency, as well as being part of our plan to help reduce the risk of transmission while on public transport where it is not always possible to maintain a 2m physical distance, it will become mandatory for people to wear three-layer face covering while travelling in Wales – this includes taxis.
“As lockdown restrictions are slowly eased, our economy will start to re-open and more people will return to work. We recognise the amount of physical space on buses and trains is limited, which means it is harder for people to stay 2m apart than in other public places.
The Welsh Government has published guidance setting out the reasonable measures transport operators will need to put in place to reduce the risk of coronavirus.
The First Minister added:
“Our message still stands – please consider carefully your reasons for travelling. We are encouraging people to continue to work from home wherever they can. Public transport should be used only for essential journeys for the time being, for our critical workers and those who have no alternative transport.
The move to make face coverings on public transport compulsory will help operators to increase capacity on trains and buses as demand rises as more people return to work following the ongoing process of gradually easing the coronavirus restrictions in Wales.