The Transport Minister for NI, Nichola Mallon, has today announced that face coverings will become mandatory on public transport in Northern Ireland from Friday 10th July.
From that date bus, train and ferry passengers will be required to wear face coverings whilst travelling and in public transport stations. Staff in public areas who are not protected by a screen will also be required to wear masks.
Exemptions are in place for those with valid health/medical reasons, as well as for children under 13. School transport and outdoor areas of ferries where social distancing can be maintained will also be exempt.
Minister Nichola Mallon said, “As we move through the Executive’s recovery plan, more and more of the economy and society is opening up. We must remember however that Covid-19 is still with us. We need to remain vigilant and continue to play our part in controlling the virus to protect ourselves and others.
“As restrictions on our movement are eased, the safety of passengers and staff remains my priority. The evidence suggests that you can reduce the risk of spreading the virus by wearing a face covering. That is why, with the support of my Executive colleagues and the unions, I am announcing that face coverings will be mandatory on public transport, from Friday July 10th.”
Coverings are not required to be surgical grade masks, rather a covering of any types which covers a person’s nose and mouth. While face coverings may offer some protection to other, they are not a substitute for other protective measures and people are still urged to continue to observe social distancing and to wash and sanitise hands regularly.