Face coverings on public transport in Scotland from 22 June

Face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in Scotland from Monday 22 June, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Full details, including a list of applicable exemptions, will be uploaded to the Transport Scotland website in due course. Thus far the agency has said only that children under the age of five and people who cannot wear a face covering for a specific medical reason will be exempt.

The rule “will apply to all passengers and staff in public areas,” adds Transport Scotland. That differs from how the requirement for face coverings on public transport has been applied in England. There, staff have been exempt since it was introduced on Monday 15 June.

It is not yet known how the rule will apply to coaches. In England, initial advice when the requirement was announced on 4 June said that they would be captured. Since then, dedicated home-to-school services have been classed as exempt. The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) has told members that the rule is not intended to encompass ‘closed door’ services such as private hires.

Nevertheless, CPT Scotland Director Paul White has welcomed Ms Sturgeon’s announcement requiring face coverings on public transport. “This is another boost to operators’ existing safety measures, which are keeping buses safe for passengers and staff,” he says.

“Passengers have worked with operators and with each other to maintain social distancing. We will be looking to them to work with us to ensure this policy is a success.”

Scottish Transport Secretary Michael Matheson says that the move is part of “ensuring passenger confidence in public transport while maintaining physical distancing.”