Face Coverings

- changes to the rules from 19 July 2021


Page last updated Monday 26 July 2021, 12:19

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From Monday 19 July 2021 in England, you will no longer be required by law to wear a face covering. Train operators in England will be implementing the government’s new guidance and expecting customers to wear a face covering in crowded spaces, out of respect for others, so please bring one to wear unless you are exempt.

If you are travelling to or within Wales, Scotland or on any TfL (Transport for London) service it is mandatory to wear a face covering (unless exempt)

When planning your journey, please check the latest government advice as restrictions may be in place. You can find more information about this by checking the appropriate government website for England, Scotland and Wales.

Questions & Answers

Below is a short Frequently Asked Questions that tells you all you need to know to follow this new rule, which will apply on all rail services for your entire journey.

What is 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.

Where do I have to wear a face covering?

Out of respect for others, please wear a face covering in crowded spaces unless you are exempt.

What will happen to customers who do not wear a face covering in crowded spaces?

In line with government guidance we expect customers to wear face coverings, at a minimum in crowded places, out of respect to others and as a matter of personal responsibility. We will be reminding people through posters and announcements that they are expected to wear a mask in crowded spaces but just like almost every other setting, from 19th July, we cannot fine people and we do not want to put our colleagues at risk of abuse or assault by asking them to bar people who do not.

Do children require face coverings in crowded spaces?

Children under 11 are not required to wear face coverings.

What do I do with my face covering when I am finished with it?

We encourage you to use a reusable face covering where possible as these are better for the environment. If you have a disposable face covering then please take it home to dispose of it or put it in the normal bins, available on stations at the end of your journey.

Do disabled people need to wear a face covering in crowded spaces?

Government guidance states that you do not have to wear a face covering if:

  • you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering.
  • putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress.
  • you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate.
  • you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering.

The following kinds of illness or disability may mean someone does not need to wear a face covering:

  • Breathing difficulties
  • Conditions affecting dexterity
  • Mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders
  • Autism
  • Dementia
  • Visual impairments or with a restricted field of vision
  • Anyone reliant on lip reading – including companions or carers for whom a face covering would impede their ability to communicate

You can view the Government guidance on exemptions to face coverings here or see 'Face Covering Exemptions' page.

Do I need to provide proof I cannot wear a face covering in a crowded space?

No. Staff have been briefed to understand that any customer who is living with a disability or health condition will not be required to provide any proof.

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If you are getting on a bus, tube, train or other service run by TfL, you must wear a face covering, unless exempt


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Last updated:   26 July 2021