Wearing face masks when travelling by train or other public transport has been made compulsory by the government during the coronavirus pandemic. But what does that mean for business travellers?
Social distancing measures means there’s only space on the railway for between 10-20% of the usual number of people. So, please consider carefully whether your journey is really necessary and in line with government advice. Work from home if you can and if you need to travel, consider walking or cycling where possible.
For those who are taking the train, we recommend you travel at quieter times if you can. If possible, buy your ticket before getting to the station or use contactless, and check the latest information before you set off.
Find out about travelling safely and other coronavirus travel updates on the National Rail Enquiries website page
Below are some Frequently Asked Questions that tell you all you need to know to follow this new face masks rule, which will applies on all rail services for your entire journey from today.
Q. What is classified as a face covering?
The Government’s instructions state that a face covering is a cloth that should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head or face masks that cover from the bridge of your nose to under your chin.
Q. Will face coverings be provided or available to buy at the station?
Not necessarily. Some rail operators are starting to install vending machines in some stations to make it easier for you to buy face coverings if you forget to bring one, but you should always bring your own face covering – it is the responsibility of the passenger and is a mandatory requirement.
Q. Where does this apply – just on trains or in stations too?
You need to wear face coverings from when you enter a station all the way through your journey, including exiting the station at the other end. If you are then moving onto the bus, tram or tube, you should keep your face covering while interchanging to avoid touching your face or mouth unnecessarily.
Q. What if I can’t wear a face covering for medical reasons or due to a disability?
You can still use public transport. National Rail advises that their staff will act considerately towards those who cannot wear a mask due to disability or medical condition.
Q. I’m deaf and I need to lip read what staff are telling me. Can they take off their face covering to help me?
At larger stations, mobility teams will start to use transparent face masks to help support those who lip read. Elsewhere, a common-sense approach will be taken.
Q. Do children require face coverings?
Children under 11 are not required to wear face coverings.
Q. What do I do with my face covering when I am finished with it?
Reusable face coverings are encouraged where possible as these are better for the environment. If you have a disposable face covering, please take it home to dispose of it or put it in the normal bins available on stations at the end of your journey.
Q. What should I do if I’m sitting in a carriage with someone who isn’t wearing a face covering?
It’s likely that the vast majority of people will want to do the right thing and help protect others by bringing and wearing a face covering while in stations and on trains. It’s worth remembering that some people may not be able to wear a mask due to medical issues. Regardless of whether someone is wearing a mask or not, you should keep your distance – at least two metres, if possible.
Back to Business... Travel
This article originally appeared in our special blog, Back to Business... Travel, on the Gray Dawes Travel main website. To help you through these exceptional times, we’ve created this very special blog just for travel professionals, like you.
An eclectic mix of articles covering indispensable travel news and guidance, top tips, webinars, human interest stories and business updates related to the return to business and travel as the UK lockdown eases. We’re sure it’ll provide some interesting reading material for you, as you begin to return to business... and travel!