Do I still need to wear a face mask on the Tube, trains, buses and what are the rules on Eurostar?

Masking rules on London transport are changing - here's everything you need to know.

All remaining Covid restrictions have lifted in England, including the requirement to wear face masks or coverings in settings like public transport.

Transport for London (TfL) had previously upheld its conditions of carriage for passengers to wear face masks or coverings on its services, including the London Underground, Overground, buses, trains and trams.

But it has confirmed it will be dropping its own mask rules, in line with England's changes to Covid regulations that have taken effect on Thursday, February 24.

Face masks have been optional in venues since the end of the Government's Plan B after they were dropped as a legal requirement in late January.

However, they were still required as a condition of carriage on public transport in London.

While TfL has taken a blanket approach on mask rules on its services, there are still some key differences on face mask rules between services travelling to other parts of the UK, and on the Eurostar.

Here's everything you need to know about the latest transport rules in London.

What are the face mask rules on the Tube, Overground, London buses, trains and trams?

TfL has announced it will end its requirement for passengers to wear face coverings on its services from February 24.

The transport body said it has “considered a variety of factors including the shift in the Government’s approach towards living with the virus and decreasing infection rates in London”.

This means that passengers no longer have to wear a mask on TfL services or in its stations.

That includes the Tube, all London buses, the operator's trains and trams, the London Overground and DLR services.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wears a mask as he rides on a Circle Line train

Should I still wear a mask anyway?

TfL and the London Mayor are still asking Londoners to wear face coverings despite the rule changes.

The transport operator and Sadiq Khan are urging passengers to continue to wear face coverings while on TfL's public transport network and its stations, in order to prevent the airborne spread of the virus to vulnerable people.

TfL says customers and staff will be strongly recommended to wear masks if they are able to, as face coverings "still play an important role in helping everyone live safely with coronavirus." 

“We can’t be everywhere” British Transport Police said of enforcing mask-wearing on public transport.

When did the legal requirements for compulsory masks on public transport end?

From Thursday, January 27, compulsory face covering rules on public transport in England ended.

But passengers were able be refused entry or told to leave for not complying with TfL's mask rules beyond that date.But from February 24, all Covid restrictions in England lift, ending requirements including self-isolation rules as the government encourages people to learn to live with the virus amid the Omicron wave of the pandemic.

The government has suggested people continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces where they come into contact with others they do not normally meet with.

Similarly, TfL has said it will be dropping face coverings as a condition of carriage, and instead "strongly recommending" them as a courtesy to others.

There have been no legal powers to enforce the conditions of carriage on its transport networks from January 27 when Plan B restrictions ended.

Since that date, the British Transport Police (BTP) and Metropolitan Police have not had powers to enforce mask rules on transport.

Instead, TfL boosted its own enforcement officer numbers and handed out Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) to passengers travelled on the network without a face covering or exemption excuse.

England's Covid legislation had previously permitted authorities to fine passengers who refused to wear them on the Tubes, Overground, trains, buses and trams.

Commuters at St Pancras railway station Credit: Thomas Hornall/PA

What are the mask rules on London's rail services?

Train operators in England have also been encouraging passengers to wear face coverings on their services and in stations, as a courtesy to others.

People travelling on rail services into London will find many operators are still urging people to wear face coverings and masks as a courtesy to others.

Rail providers on major services into London, including SouthWestern Railways (SWR). Greater Anglia, Great Western Railway (GWR), and Southern are all asking passenger to wear them as a courtesy to others.

However they are not legally mandated in England.

National Rail said earlier train operators in England would still encourage the wearing of face coverings, as a courtesy to others.

Credit: Ben Birchall/PA Archive/PA Images

What are the mask rules for trips to areas outside London?

Rail operators are reminding customers catching trains out of London that face coverings are still mandatory elsewhere in the UK.

It is important to be aware mask rules change when your train leaves England until rules are potentially eased elsewhere.

For instance, LNER says passengers travelling on its services through Scotland must wear masks unless exempt - as face coverings remain mandatory there and customers risk a fine for failure to wear one.

Similarly, GWR reminds passengers they must wear a face covering when travelling on services through Wales, where people must wear a face covering on public transport unless exempt.

A man wearing a face mask walks past a coronavirus advice sign outside a bank on Argyle Street in Glasgow city centre. Credit: PA

Those rules are predicted to change as rules ease elsewhere in the UK, and passengers are being urged to keep track of face covering rules in their destination and check rail operators' web sites for updates.

For instance, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland's Covid legal restrictions will end on March 21, providing there is no major surge in infections.

The change looks set to include the regulations requiring face masks on public transport ending

Whereas in Wales, Covid rules are set to be relaxed from February 28 - but masks will still be required in many indoor settings such as on public transport and in shops.

Eurostar at St Pancras (Nathan Gallagher/Eurostar/PA) Credit: Press Association Images

Do I need to wear a mask on the Eurostar?

The Eurostar requires passengers to wear face masks on board its services, unless they are exempt from wearing the coverings.

The operator told ITV News London face coverings will remain mandatory on board and in all of its stations in the UK as well as in Europe.

In popular Eurostar destinations such as France, Belgium, and the Netherlands, face coverings remained mandatory on public services and in crowded indoor spaces as of February.

A man and woman wearing protective face masks on a bus in London Credit: Yui Mok/PA

What justification has TfL given for not mandating mask use on public transport?

London Mayor Sadiq Khan does have the power to order TfL to mandate mask use as a condition of carriage on its services.

This was the case when England's face covering public transport mandates changed in late January.

TfL continued to require face coverings be worn on its services and at stations.

However the key difference was that this was no longer legally enforceable, meaning police had no powers to fine passengers who refused.

TfL says it has taken the decision to remove the masking rules in line with the Government's over-arching approaching to Covid restrictions in England from February 24.

It comes after Mr Khan this week said he anticipated TfL would follow the masking rule change, although he still urged Londoners to continue wearing them anyway.

He reminded Londoners of the "health benefit" of wearing face coverings, and raised his concern about the pace with which the Government was dropping Covid restrictions amid the omicron variant's continuing spread.

The London leader said: "We know that face coverings remain a simple, effective measure that give Londoners confidence to travel, and following clear advice from public health advisers, TfL will likely continue to recommend their use on the network.

"I urge passengers to be considerate of their fellow Londoners and continue to wear a face covering where appropriate unless exempt."

In a statement released Thursday alongside its decision, TfL says it took in factors including the shift in the Government's approach towards living with the virus and decreasing infection rates in London.

It has also considered evidence about the proven effectiveness of face coverings, along with the results of independent testing for Covid levels on its networks, which found none since September 2020.

Lilli Matson, Chief Safety, Health and Environment Officer for TfL, added: "All customers should be assured that the public transport network is as safe as other similar settings, and that independent testing has found no trace of coronavirus on our network since September 2020. We look forward to continuing to welcome customers back to our network as we help London and the economy recover.”