Covid: Will businesses and transport operators make masks compulsory?

ITV News North of England Reporter Hannah Miller hears from businesses and the public about face-coverings

Businesses and transport operators are deciding whether to make mask-wearing compulsory after the government's coronavirus restrictions end on July 19.

Previously it has been mandatory for those visiting shops or using trains and buses to have a face covering but the legal requirements will be removed by the government on Monday.

However, Sadiq Khan has said face coverings will still be required on Transport for London services.

Elsewhere, six of England's regional mayors - for West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region, North of Tyne, West of England and South Yorkshire - are calling on the government to keep face coverings mandatory on public transport from Monday.

The mayors have mandated face coverings in the areas they have control of. In Greater Manchester that includes Metrolink trams. In West and South Yorkshire, it is limited to bus stations and transport interchanges.

But the leaders warned that without a continued national mandate there would be a “ridiculous mismatch” of rules across the country that will be “confusing” for passengers.

Airlines Easyjet, Ryanair and British Airways have confirmed they will require customers to wear masks on their planes, while Eurostar will maintain the current policy on coverings.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we expect and recommend” that people continue to wear face coverings in “crowded and enclosed spaces … such as on public transport”.

People will be encouraged to wear masks in crowded spaces. Credit: PA

But train industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced that all domestic train operators, such as Avanti West Coast, TransPennine Express and Southeastern, will not go that far.

An RDG spokesman said: “Rail companies will ask people to follow the Government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy.

“Train travel is low-risk, with the majority of carriages well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows.”

Supermarkets and other retail outlets will need to make a decision on whether they will adopt a new policy on mask-wearing in store before Monday.

Co-op told ITV News they are still reviewing their policy in light of the latest Government guidelines.

The chain is not alone in still reviewing the next step as they look to strike the right balance.

An IKEA spokesperson said in a statement: "The safety of our customers and co-workers is always our first priority. We are developing our plans, which will be finalised once Government guidance for shops is received."

Sainsbury Chief executive Simon Roberts has said: "There are two very distinct points of view.

"One is customers and colleagues who can’t wait for the restrictions to lift and not to have to wear a mask for example, and others who are keen to continue to do that.

“I think in the end it will come down to the choices that individual customers and colleagues want to make.

"It is going to be driven by customer and by colleague choice.”

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EasyJet said in a statement: "At present there are no changes to easyJet's onboard mask policy and we will continue to keep this under review.

"We continue to be guided by our inhouse medical adviser and a number of key industry governing bodies that airlines follow including the WHO (World Health Organisation), Icao (International Civil Aviation Organisation), Easa (European Union Aviation Safety Agency), the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) and public health authorities across Europe, and at present their guidance around the wearing of masks onboard remains unchanged."