Union calls for return of mandatory mask-wearing on public transport

Unite, which represents tens of thousands of transport workers, said it would be a ‘sensible measure’ in the face of rising coronavirus cases.

A woman wearing a face mask on a bus in London
A woman wearing a face mask on a bus in London

The mandatory wearing of face coverings should be reintroduced on public transport, according to a trade union.

Unite, which represents tens of thousands of transport workers, called for the measure to be implemented due to rising coronavirus cases.

The legal requirement for people to wear a face covering in most indoor settings such as public transport, shops and hospitality ended on July 19.

Unite national officer for passenger transport Bobby Morton said: “The Government can no longer pretend that Covid-19 is not a risk, and needs to take immediate action to protect key workers and passengers.

“By reintroducing mask-wearing the danger of infection to both bus workers and passengers is significantly reduced.

“This is a sensible measure the Government could and should take that does not damage the economy in anyway.”

“The reintroduction of mask-wearing must go hand-in-hand with the proper enforcement of such rules.”

Transport for London said last week that 98 transport workers in the capital have died from coronavirus, not including taxi or private hire drivers.

Unite also expressed concern that hospitality workers are being treated with a “lack of dignity and respect” by some members of the public.

The union’s national officer for the hospitality sector Dave Turnbull said: “Our members are reporting that customers are becoming increasingly abusive when they attempt to enforce social distancing measures set by the venue.

“This is entirely unacceptable. Unite is working to ensure that hospitality sector employers protect their workers.”

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