Mask row: Sadiq Khan put on spot over mandatory Tube rule – How will you enforce?

Sadiq Khan confirms face masks to remain compulsory on TFL

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The London Mayor has asked Transport for London (TfL) to make mask-wearing a “condition of carriage” even after legal restrictions have been lifted on July 19. But some Twitter users hit out at Mr Khan over the enforcement of the measure.

One said: “This is all well and good, but how will it be enforced? Already around a third of the travellers I see are not wearing a mask and that’s with the national requirement. I’m not sure that this will make any difference.”

Another wrote: “But will there be enough staff to enforce it for those not wearing a mask without a legitimate reason? Last week when I was on the tube only a handful of people in the packed carriage were wearing a mask…”

A third asked: “Can you enforce it the way you enforce catching fare dodgers please?”

Another commented: “Every time I’ve travelled on the tube in the last few months 95% of people aren’t wearing a mask anyway so I don’t think this will make any difference…”

A fifth said: “It would help if this was actually policed. Having posters and messages about wearing masks is not enough. Far too many people (young men (20-40 years) in particular ) not wearing them on tubes now.”

Another wrote: “At least half the passengers on any tube ride I’ve taken recently aren’t wearing masks or have pulled the mask under their chin as soon as they’ve got a seat. If it’s not being enforced now, how’s it going to be enforced next week?”

One more added: “How is this going to be enforced, from what I saw last week or so a large amount of people not wearing masks, completely unchallenged.”

Mr Khan said he was “not prepared” to put tube, tram and other transport users in the capital “at risk” by removing the rules on face coverings after so-called “freedom day”.

He said: “I’ve repeatedly made clear that the simplest and safest option would have been for the Government to retain the national requirement for face coverings on public transport.

“I’m not prepared to stand by and put Londoners, and our city’s recovery, at risk.

“This is why, after careful consideration, I have decided to ask TfL to retain the requirement for passengers to wear a face covering on all TfL services when the national regulations change.

“By keeping face masks mandatory we will give Londoners and visitors the reassurance and confidence to make the most of what our city has to offer, while also protecting our heroic transport workers and those who may be vulnerable and rely on the network to get around our city.

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“It’s an extra layer of protection on top of TfL’s world-leading enhanced cleaning regime – and I’m sure Londoners will continue to do the right thing as they have done throughout the pandemic, and continue to wear a face covering on TfL services.”

The requirement would mean passengers on all TfL services, which includes the tube, bus, tram, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), Overground and TfL Rail, would need to continue to wear a face covering in stations and for the duration of their journey unless they are exempt.

Officials said TfL enforcement officers patrolling London’s transport network, under the conditions of carriage requirement, will be able to refuse entry to people or ask them to leave services for failure to comply.

It comes after the Prime Minister announced on Monday that most of England’s legal Covid restrictions, including compulsory mask wearing in many indoor public settings, will end next week as part of the final stage of his road map out of the coronavirus lockdown.

While Boris Johnson has urged people to exercise “personal responsibility” in continuing to wear masks in “crowded and enclosed spaces”, Mr Khan has called for TfL to go further by continuing to mandate their use.

A Government spokeswoman said: “As we’ve set out, we’re moving from a universal Government diktat to relying on people’s personal responsibility.

“The guidance is clear that people are expected and recommended to wear a mask when they come into contact with people they don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.

“It is open to transport operators to decide if they want to take further measures.”

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