Rise in assaults towards transport staff enforcing mask-wearing in Wales

  • Video report by ITV Wales journalist Mike Griffiths

There has been a sharp increase in anti-social behaviour towards staff trying to enforce mask-wearing on public transport, according to Transport for Wales.

In July, 13 physical assaults were reported, compared with only two for the same month last year.

The company says it has seen a rise in assaults during each month of the second quarter of 2021, with six recorded in April, eight in May and 11 in June.

Leighton Powell, the Group Safety and Sustainability Director at Transport for Wales, says thousands of people have already been removed from trains for not following the rules.

Now TfW is launching a campaign alongside British Transport Police to encourage passengers to wear face coverings and be respectful of train staff if they ask them to wear one.

Even though there has been a loosening of many restrictions in Wales, face masks are still mandatory in shops and healthcare settings, as well as on public transport.

Alert Level Zero: The Covid rules explained in Wales

Meeting indoors

From 6am on 7 August, will be no legal limits on the number of people who can meet, including in private homes, public places or at events.

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What businesses can reopen?

Any businesses currently still closed will be able to re-open. This includes nightclubs and other entertainment venues.

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What about self-isolating?

From midnight on 7 August, adults who are fully vaccinated and children and young people under the age of 18, will no longer need to isolate if they are identified as close conatcts of someone who has coronavirus.

This was announced by the First Minister last week.

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Social distancing

It's not yet clear whether or not the 'two-metre rule' under which businesses are obliged by law to ensure social distancing in the workplace will be dropped.

Welsh Government sources say that it is one of the final details being discussed.

In its announcement, the government says premises and workplaces will have "more flexibility" about which "reasonable measures they take" to minimise the risk of the virus.

"These should be tailored to their risk assessment and their specific circumstances".

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Transport for Wales is reminding customers that they still have to wear a mask on public transport compared to passengers in England. Credit: PA Images

Anyone travelling on a train in England will not be required to wear a mask, but as soon as it crosses the border into Wales, customers will be expected to put one on.

TfW says British Transport Police will be boarding trains in Wales to remind people to wear a mask as well as having announcements onboard services.

The coach firm, National Express, says it is in a similar situation and says it is everyone's responsibility to keep each other safe.

Coach company National Express says it is in a similar situation with announcements for mask wearing when crossing the border into Wales. Credit: PA Images

A spokesperson from the company said: "We expect passengers to think of others and wear a face covering when onboard our coaches and in stations, unless exempt. 

"We will be reminding customers about face coverings when booking, in stations and on coaches - including additional driver announcements on cross-border services."