Face coverings will be mandatory on Scottish public transport from Monday

Announcement from Nicola Sturgeon confirms The Scotsman’s revelation.

A passenger wearing a face covering on a Lothian bus. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.
A passenger wearing a face covering on a Lothian bus. Picture: Lisa Ferguson.

The First Minister told MSPs today: “We have decided that from Monday face coverings will be mandatory on all public transport.

“That includes taxis and private hire cabs, as well as buses, trains, the Glasgow Subway, Edinburgh Trams, planes, and enclosed areas on ferries

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“This will be subject to some exemptions – for example, for children under the age of five, people with breathing difficulties, and those who have physical conditions which make it hard to keep the mask in place.

“It will also not apply to drivers who are already protected by a shield of some kind.”

However, those convicted of not complying will face a fine of only £30 if they pay within 28 days.

The penalty doubles to £60 thereafter, with repeat offenders liable to fines up to £960.

The Scottish Government's Transport Scotland agency said passengers should not challenge people not wearing a face covering but inform staff.

However, it said Police Scotland and British Transport Police were expected to have a “very limited role in enforcement”.

The measure is being introduced under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 as amended by the Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions) (Scotland) Amendment (No. 4) Regulations 2020.

Train operators such as ScotRail will have a “limited supply" of free disposable face coverings for a limited period at major stations such as Glasgow Central and Queen Street, Edinburgh Waverley and Haymarket, and Aberdeen and Inverness.

They will also be available from ticket offices at Argyle Street, Exhibition Centre, Johnstone, Ayr, Paisley Gilmour Street, Linlithgow, Falkirk High, Bathgate, Airdrie, Hyndland, Dalmuir and Motherwell stations.

Bus firms will have some available at “central hubs” such as bus stations.

Passengers should take them with them after their journeys and not left on trains and buses.

Ms Sturgeon added: “We believe this measure will be increasingly important as use of public transport increases, and implementing it now will help to reduce the risks of transmission and build public confidence.

“We want people to work from home whenever they can, and to cycle or walk where possible.

“But as we open up more workplaces and public services, more people will use public transport.”

Face coverings was previously only recommended on transport.

Ms Sturgeon said: “Wearing face coverings can reduce the risk of the virus being transmitted.

“If you have Covid, but maybe don’t realise it because you don’t have symptoms, a face covering reduces the risk of you passing the virus on to other people.

“And other people wearing face coverings help to protect you in a similar way.

“It is not an absolute safeguard – and physical distancing, hand washing and good hygiene will always be more important in preventing transmission.

“But face coverings can help to reduce the risk of transmission, and that is important.”

The First Minister also announced there would be no change to the five-mile travel limit for exercise and leisure.

This does not apply to visiting friends and family, but such meetings must remain outside.

The 2 metre distancing guidance also remains unchanged.

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