Compliance could slip on London Underground as 100 people seen without face masks in 11 minutes
It is currently a legal requirement to wear a face cover unless you are medically exempt on public transport and there is also an exemption for transport workers themselves.
But despite the fact that many people continue to adhere to other restrictions like social distancing and Track and Trace in restaurants, it looks like this one might start to slip!
On Friday, June 25, My London went to do a survey on how many people still obeyed the letter of the law with secure blankets stuck to the bridge of their noses. We observed 100 people not wearing face coverings on the London Underground at Farringdon station in just 11 minutes. 88 of the 100 appeared to be male. Six trains stopped at the platform during our observation.
The 100 people may have included more medically exempt people, although only two wore lanyards to indicate this.
READ MORE: Your Oyster Card will fine you if you drive through London too slowly!
An unscientific finding, of course, but which reflects the reluctance of many passengers. Transport for London’s (TfL) own statistics show that 73% of people who have received fixed penalty notices for not wearing face coverings since July 2020 are men, which equates to 2,850 men.
Regardless of vaccination rates or the number of Covid cases, the law is the law. Health Protection Regulation (Coronavirus, wearing of face covering in public transport) (England) 2020 specifically state that it is an offense not to wear a face covering without a “reasonable excuse”, which is explained to include eating and drinking, a disability which prevents a person from putting on a mask on his or her own, from escaping injury or illness or other various emergencies.
The awesome new newsletter from MyLondon The 12 packed with news, views, features and opinions from all over the city.
Each day we will send you a free email around noon with 12 stories to keep you entertained, informed and uplifted. It’s the perfect read for lunch.
The MyLondon team are telling London stories to Londoners. Our 45 journalists cover all the news you need – from town hall to your local streets.
Never miss a moment by signing up for The 12 newsletter here.
Our sightings were on a relatively quiet Thursday afternoon on the Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines. There was no imminent threat of danger or a three-course meal or so.
There was, however, a lot of signage that reinforced the message, despite Piers Corbyn’s attempts to change that.
We asked some passengers what they thought of the advisability of requiring the wearing of masks on public transport in London. In general, the answer was that people should wear face coverings, although the criminal penalties could go beyond that.
“Some people are perfectly healthy and get vaccinated. If they don’t want to wear a mask, I wouldn’t blink. It’s their personal choice.” A passenger told MyLondon.
Another disagreed: “People should have the decency to protect themselves and others. Even if you are vaccinated and feel protected, you really aren’t.”
Discussing our observations that the men were less accommodating with one of the passengers, they replied, “I’m not surprised. If you are a young man in London, you have authority constantly watching you, waiting for you to do it. something is wrong. So why would I care? “
We created a Facebook group for people traveling on London’s bus, train, tube, Overground and DLR services.
We’ll keep you updated with the latest news that affects your daily commute to work, as well as on weekends.
We will also let you know in advance if there are any road, rail or closures that you should be aware of, or if there are any issues on the city’s metro system.
Join the group here.
A young man simply asked us: ‘I have seen this fine of £ 6,400. Did they even impose it? I do not believe that. It can’t happen ”
Another passenger we spoke to was completing master’s research on Covid vaccination compliance. She told us, “I can’t comment on men, but what I have found in my research with women is that women perceive the vaccine as a way to protect their health. Maybe a lot. of women see this also in relation to masks. “
“Personally, I think it could be related to not drawing attention to yourself. Public transport and traveling alone can be vulnerable for a woman, so complying while wearing a mask may be perceived as safer. I think there is an element of social desirability, ”added the postgraduate student.
Ultimately, law enforcement rests with the people who operate and oversee our transportation system.
A spokesperson for TfL said: “To help protect everyone’s health and control the spread of the virus, it is mandatory that people wear face covers over their noses and mouths when traveling on public transport. . We’re excited that the majority of customers are doing the right thing, with around 90% compliance levels. Some clients are exempt from wearing a face covering, for medical and other reasons which may not be immediately obvious to others.
“We are taking severe action against the selfish minority who still do not comply and put the health of others at risk. TfL and our law enforcement partners are running enforcement operations across London at all times of the day. “
TfL’s firm position comes after arresting more than 200,000 people for non-compliance in the past year. Most put on masks, but 12,900 were denied boarding and 3,000 were withdrawn from service.
The overwhelming majority of people (over 90% according to TfL and our own observations) suggest that people cover their faces on public transport.
Do you think it is fair to continue to wear our masks in the subway? Is there a male problem or is it just a personal choice? Let us know your thoughts below!