Face masks must remain compulsory on public transport, says London mayor Sadiq Khan

Martin Stew explains how the changes to Covid restrictions will affect Londoners

The Government is being urged by London Mayor Sadiq Khan to rethink plans to end the compulsory wearing of masks on public transport in England from January 27.

Mr Khan said wearing a face covering was one of the most important things people could do to prevent the virus spreading.

He said the fight against the virus has not ended, adding: "Wearing a face covering is one of the single most important and easiest things we can all do to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the Government should rethink their plans and keep legislation in place to make them mandatory on public transport as well as in shops and indoor public venues.

"This ensures the rules are clear and consistent and, crucially, means enforcement action can continue to be carried out on our transport network.

"If we have learnt anything from this pandemic, it is that we must not get complacent and undo all our hard work and sacrifices.

"That’s why face coverings will remain a condition of carriage on Transport for London services.

"I’m asking everyone in our capital to do the right thing and continue to wear a face covering when travelling on TfL services to keep us all protected and to prevent further restrictions from being necessary later down the line."

He was backed by Manuel Cortes, general secretary of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association, who said: "As ever our union puts public health first and we know that face coverings help reduce transmission of the virus and will give the public confidence on public transport.

"It’s vital our brave transport members who have been on the front line of this pandemic continue to feel they are protected.

"Sadiq Khan is spot on when he says face coverings should remain beyond the end of Plan B, especially given the rates of infection we are still seeing.

“Clearly the Government should back this, not only for London but across the rest of our public transport network."

The changes to Covid rules mean from January 27 face coverings will no longer be required by law in any settings, although guidance will suggest masks should still be considered in enclosed and crowded spaces.

Face masks will remain compulsory on Tube and bus services in London as they continue to be a 'condition of carriage' on TfL services.