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Face coverings to be made mandatory for public transport travel in the UK.


TruthSeeker27
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From my local bus operator's website:

https://nxbus.co.uk/west-midlands/news/stay-safe-when-travelling-with-us

 

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The government has announced that customers will need to wear face coverings when using public transport from 15th June. It’s an added level of safety for you and your fellow customers. Some customers will not need to wear a face covering - children under 11, and people with certain health and non-visible conditions. While we continue to work with the government on further guidance, our drivers will be exercising reasonable discretion when applying this new rule. Here's an easy guide on how to make a face covering with an old t-shirt.

 

"Added level of safety" ?

 

Even the wording doesn't sound like it is in any way 'legal' - references to 'government guidance' and 'new rule' give it away.

 

The link takes you to a PDF document which simply contains the following text:

 

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Based on the guidance we know currently, customers with the following health and non-visible conditions do not need to wear a face covering:
 
1. Breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions.
 
2. Conditions effecting dexterity, meaning you are not able to put on a face covering.
 
3. Mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders.
 
4. Other non-visible disabilities such as autism.
 
5. Cognitive impairments, including dementia, who may not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering.
 
6. Visual impairments, with a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view.
 
7. Impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain.
 
8. Those who rely on lip reading. This would include carers who are travelling with someone for whom a face covering will inhibit communication.
 
9. Children under 11, or children on dedicated school transport services.

 

The government expects everyone to wear a face covering if they can. The above list is not exhaustive and would extend to someone who has a justifiable reason for not wearing one on the grounds of health or disability not outlined above.

 

So "the government expects everyone to wear a face covering if they can". Or if they can't then they don't need to.

 

Its clearly a load of cobblers. The Chinese face mask manufacturers must be rubbing their hands at this great business opportunity that has been handed on a plate to them.

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8 minutes ago, Grumpy Grapes said:

Are bus drivers legally empowered to discuss your health issues in public? 

 

That is an excellent point Grumpy Grapes and something that we should push (I'm out of reactions unfortunately). Information about our health is classified as sensitive personal data under GDPR - actual law(!) - and needs to be treated carefully and confidentially by appropriate organisations. Of course TPTB know this which suggests that they are experimenting to see how far the general public are willing to give in, comply and police each other. I saw an article posted on FB which said that a Scottish minister had told people to stare at those not wearing masks - a deliberate act of intimidation geared towards getting individuals to police each other. They know that the new "rules" aren't legal and are a breach of human rights so they have to rely on scare tactics.

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5 minutes ago, Grumpy Grapes said:

These masks are probably temporary because security cameras will struggle to identify people, unless they have other techniques to identify. 

 

'Facial recognition' uses gait's (in my opinion, as this is not published) which are very unique, plus other vectors.

China's systems have been operating on mask wearers for years now.

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I wish they were as relaxed about mask wearing in Spain. There is only one chain of supermarkets I am allowed in unmasked, and on Saturday I was refused entry into three electrical shops and one hardware store. I claimed exemption due to asthma, showed them my inhalers but still not allowed in. Apparently I need a stamped and signed doctors certificate, together with an official translation if not in Spanish - total cost nearly €200! I wouldn’t be surprised if they then still wouldn’t le me in as each shop seems to follow its own rules. 

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Part 2 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings on Public Transport) (England) Regulations 2020 is the legislative basis for mandatory wearing of face masks on public transport. It reads as follows:

 

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2020/592/part/2/made


Requirement to wear a face covering when on public transport

3.—(1) No person may, without reasonable excuse, use a public transport service without wearing a face covering.

 

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), a person is using a public transport service at any time when—

(a)they are boarding any vehicle by means of which a public transport service is provided, or

(b)they are (whether or not for the purposes of travel) on board any vehicle by means of which a public transport service is provided.

 

(3) But the requirement in paragraph (1) does not apply—

(a)to a child who is under the age of 11;

(b)to an employee of the operator of the relevant public transport service acting in the course of their employment;

(c)to any other person providing services under arrangements made with the operator of the relevant public transport service who is providing those services;

(d)to a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty;

(e)to an emergency responder (other than a constable) acting in their capacity as an emergency responder;

(f)to a relevant official acting in the course of their employment or their duties;

(g)where a person is allocated a cabin, berth or other similar accommodation, at any time when they are in that accommodation—

(i)alone, or

(ii)only with members of their own household or a linked household;

(h)where—

(i)a person is permitted, or ordinarily required, to board and to remain in a vehicle when using the public transport service, and

(ii)the vehicle is not itself used for the provision of a public transport service,

the person remains in that vehicle.

 

(4) In this regulation—

“emergency responder” has the same meaning as for the purposes of section 153A of the Inheritance Tax Act 1984(1);

“linked household” has the meaning given in regulation 7A of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020(2);

“relevant official” means—
(a) an inspector, or a surveyor of ships, appointed under section 256 of the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 (“the 1995 Act”)(3);
(b) a pilot (within the meaning given in paragraph 22(1) of Schedule 3A to the 1995 Act(4));
(c) a civil aviation inspector, as defined in Annex 9 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation signed at Chicago on 7th December 1944(5);
(d) a border force officer (within the meaning given in paragraph 7 of the Schedule 20 to the Coronavirus Act 2020(6)).


Reasonable excuse

4.  For the purposes of regulation 3(1), the circumstances in which a person (“P”) has a reasonable excuse include those where—

(a)P cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering—

(i)because of any physical or mental illness or impairment, or disability (within the meaning of section 6 of the Equality Act 2010(7)), or

(ii)without severe distress;

(b)P is travelling with, or providing assistance to, another person (“B”) and B relies on lip reading to communicate with P;

(c)P removes their face covering to avoid harm or injury, or the risk of harm or injury, to themselves or others;

(d)P is travelling to avoid injury, or to escape a risk of harm, and does not have a face covering with them;

(e)if it is reasonably necessary for P to eat or drink, P removes their face covering to eat or drink;

(f)P has to remove their face covering to take medication;

(g)a relevant person requests that P remove their face covering.

 

Some bus companies have "face covering exemption cards" which can be printed off and displayed to the driver. Here is an example:

 

https://www.firstgroup.com/uploads/node_images/face-covering-exemption-extra-help-travel-assistance-card-12-06-20.pdf

 

image.png.a834af4ddd2b6e69dbb5b061f87374cd.pngimage.png.14d90f75633151d25be0eb484d9e7db8.png

 

In addition to claiming medical exemption from the requirement, I find section 4(c) interesting and a possible opening to argue that science suggests that wearing face masks comes with a risk of harm to the wearer. Vernon Coleman's video about the risks featured earlier in this thread but here's the video again:

 

 

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Well, I begrudgingly wore a mask while travelling on the bus to and from work today. I suppose I consider myself lucky that my commute is relatively short, as the bus journey itself takes less than 20 minutes.

 

But goodness me, I don't know how people can wear these things for any extended period of time. As it happened, once I got upstairs and took my seat on the empty top deck this morning, I took the bloody thing off. I found it quite uncomfortable having my warm breath blowing back at me, and it probably didn't help it being very warm and humid today.

 

(I also notice on the National Express West Midlands buses that they have signs asking to keep the windows open!)

 

What I also found disconcerting was how the mask partially obscured my field of vision - I like to look where I'm going, so I found it a bit awkward going up and down the staircase.

 

But what I found interesting was what I observed on my return journey home this evening. While I was waiting at the stop for my bus, another one pulled up, and a young-ish looking African bloke got off - no mask. As I boarded my bus which followed shortly behind,  I glanced around the lower deck before heading upstairs, four people wearing face coverings, while another African-looking lady wasn't. When I got upstairs, there were three other blokes - all African - sitting near each other, none of them wearing masks or coverings.

 

Now before anyone accuses me of anything, this was a factual observation, I saw it with my own eyes, with no judgement. (And there are also a lot of Africans round the Sparkbrook area where I work, this is also an observable fact).

 

For all I know, they could have all had valid reasons for not wearing face coverings, and it could have all been a coincidence. Or perhaps they know now they can get away with not doing so, because if they get challenged by anyone, they can throw the 'racist' card back at them.

 

I hope this isn't the case, because otherwise things are going to get ugly when passengers start being challenged. The bus inspectors haven't been out and about for a long time round here, I wonder if they'll be dragged back out again, not just to check passengers' tickets, but to enforce the wearing of face coverings.

 

41 minutes ago, Mitochondrial Eve said:

Some bus companies have "face covering exemption cards" which can be printed off and displayed to the driver. Here is an example:

 

That's actually not a bad idea, but is potentially open to 'abuse' if anyone can just print one off. ?

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22 minutes ago, Grumpy Owl said:

Well, I begrudgingly wore a mask while travelling on the bus to and from work today. I suppose I consider myself lucky that my commute is relatively short, as the bus journey itself takes less than 20 minutes.

 

But goodness me, I don't know how people can wear these things for any extended period of time. As it happened, once I got upstairs and took my seat on the empty top deck this morning, I took the bloody thing off. I found it quite uncomfortable having my warm breath blowing back at me, and it probably didn't help it being very warm and humid today.

 

(I also notice on the National Express West Midlands buses that they have signs asking to keep the windows open!)

 

What I also found disconcerting was how the mask partially obscured my field of vision - I like to look where I'm going, so I found it a bit awkward going up and down the staircase.

 

 

I haven't worn a mask and have no intention of doing so so it's good to hear your feedback on the experience.

 

From what you have said, I think you had every right under the new legislation, irrespective of the human rights violations, to take the thing off. Given how uncomfortable it was, coupled with obscuring your field of vision and perhaps your ability to breathe properly, I would suggest that section 4(c) from part 2 of the legislation in my post above, would have been fulfilled. You removed your face covering to avert any risk of harm to yourself.

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This could be that DM is twisting the story but I thought face covering is a guidance and not LAW.

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Transport for London (TfL) staff today handed-out thousands of free face masks to people who attempted to use their Tube and bus services without a face covering, despite a new government law making them mandatory on all public transport across England.

https://davidicke.com/2020/06/15/so-much-for-the-new-rules-tfl-hands-out-30000-free-masks-as-one-in-five-bus-and-tube-passengers-try-to-ride-without-face-covering-risking-a-100-fine-today/

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I've just spoken to an acquaintance who is a police officer who is specifically tasked with policing a major transport network (yes i'm keeping this part vague).  

 

Said person informed me they've only been told to 'educate, encourage, engage', no enforcement action is to be taken unless it escalates into a public disorder situation. In a nutshell, the guidance is so vague and wafty you only need to say "it gives me a headache" and that's enough for the police to allow you to resume. 

 

But because the guidance is so vague, police have a million other things to do, and 9/10 times if they did challenge someone, they'd be tooled up with this knowledge anyway. My acquaintance informs me they won't actually be challenging anyone, unless their attention is drawn to a situation which would require police attention anyway. 

 

I've said all along, that the way 'guidance, rules and advise' is being rolled out by the government, they actually make it completely unenforceable on a shop floor level. If people actually armed themselves with this knowledge, we'd basically return to pre-covid levels of 'freedom'. 

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1 hour ago, Grumpy Grapes said:

Of the 4 buses I caught today, only 1 driver asked me why I wasn't wearing a covering. How long will this last? 

 

Have your printed GDPR privacy concern form in your bag.

If they ask a reason, take one of these and ask him to step outside to sign the form with their name, address and signature to promise that he will not share a sensitive data of yours with anyone else. If you've gotta comply, then comply. Only then you will be prepared to share your disability info.

 

But I think this forceful mask wearing shenanigan is actually discrimination in kind.

Because if you don't wear one, people will know that you have some kind of disability which is unfair if you don't want to disclose it to the world.

Edited by chocomel
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Yes, and Scotland is to start with that NOW! On Monday! I really don't understand why now, after all these weeks and months of only recommending it and cases going steadily down.

Nicola SEEMS to want to get this whole virus thing completely out of the way so that we can get back to normal and schoolchildren won't have to socially distance in Scottish schools when they can eventually go back. She said as much today. It would be WONDERFUL if she could pull that off, but I do not want to start wearing a mask now. There's hardly anyone on our local buses at the moment. I'll see tomorrow, Friday, what's what, when it is still okay to travel without one. I shall have to walk back home with my weekly shop as of next week then, as I don't have a car. With the bus-pass it is always so handy to travel back on the bus.:classic_sad:

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