The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Covering)(England) Regulations 2021 (the “Face Covering Regulations”) require people to wear a face covering when indoors on a “public transport service”, or in a “relevant place” including a “transport hub” or in any part of a “transport hub” which is indoors. A
“relevant place” includes shops, shopping centres, banks, building societies and post offices as set out in Part 1 of Schedule 1. It also includes transport hubs. “Relevant place”, “public transport service”, “public transport vehicle” and “transport hub” are defined in regulation 2.
People are required to wear a face covering indoors when using a public transport service. This includes on buses, trains, private hire vehicles, taxis, the London Underground, trams, aircraft and water taxis. It does not include school transport that is being used solely for that purpose, or cruise ships.
People are required to wear a face covering when they are in a transport hub, which is any premises used as a place from or to which a public transport service operates, The requirement only applies to areas that are indoors and open to the public.
Face coverings are not required in other places, including hospitality settings. Place that could fall within the definition of a “shop” but where face coverings are not requires are listed in Part 2 of Schedule 1.
Regulations 3(1) sets out the requirement to wear a face covering in a relevant place.
Regulation 4 (1) requires a person to wear a face covering on public transport. In both cases, the requirement is subject to any reasonable excuse that the person has for not wearing one. Regulations 3(2) and 4 (3) set out the categories of people to whom the requirement to wear a face covering does not apply, including children under the age of 11 and employees of the person responsible for a relevant place or an operator of a
public transport service acting in the course of their employment.
Regulation 5 provides a non-exhaustive list of what may constitute a “reasonable excuse” for the purposes of regulations 3(1) and 4(1).
Regulation 6 requires a responsible person to display a notice in a relevant place or public transport vehicle stating that any person present in that setting is required to wear a face covering unless exempt. Alternatively, the responsible person may take other measures to ensure that people entering a relevant place or boarding a public transport vehicle is given this information (e.g. an announcement over the public address system).
Regulation 7 requires that anyone who is required to wear a face covering in a relevant place must not be prevented from doing so by anyone responsible for that setting.
Regulation 8 allows the Secretary of State to disapply regulation 3(1) the requirement to wear a face covering or regulation 6(1) the requirement to display a notice for the purposes of a research programme.
These Regulations apply to England and Wales.