Wearing face coverings is set to become compulsory on Arriva Bus services in Wales from next week
The wearing of face coverings is set to become compulsory on Arriva Bus services in Wales next week.
The Welsh Government said this week it is ‘recommending’ that people in Wales wear face coverings in situations where social distancing is not possible but have stopped short of making it mandatory.
In England face coverings will be mandatory for everyone using public transport in from Monday, June 15.
Arriva’s new face covering rule will also begin on Monday, it has been welcomed by Unite the Union who said it should set the standard for Wales
Unite The Union have welcomed the move. The decision by Arriva is in line with Unites call for Welsh Government to ensure face coverings are mandatory on public transport.
From 15th June, face coverings must be worn by all customers on board our buses. Some customers may be exempt from wearing a face covering. For more information about face coverings and exclusions, please visit: https://t.co/AwhOOYMp02 pic.twitter.com/MLs0xnJ9kN
— Arriva Buses Wales (@arrivabuswales) June 12, 2020
Unite Wales Regional Secretary Peter Hughes said: “Unite Wales warmly welcomes Arriva’s decision to make face coverings compulsory for those using its bus services across Wales.
“Despite the current Welsh Government position of only recommending their use, Arriva has taken the common sense approach.
“This decision will increase safety on their buses and increase the confidence of the general public to travel with them.
“Welsh Government must now realise that they should not be leaving important public health decisions such as this in the hands of transport providers.
“It is time for Welsh Government to review its decision and make face coverings compulsory on public transport in Wales.
“If this does not happen, Unite would encourage all bus operators in Wales to put the health and safety of drivers and passengers first, and adopt the same stance that Arriva has taken on face coverings.”
Last week the World Health Organisation updated their guidance on face coverings, advising that they should be considered in settings where maintaining social distancing is difficult.
Health minister Vaughan Gething said: the wearing of a face covering “does not replace the need for social distancing or washing your hands regularly.”
“Further scientific evidence is needed on the benefits to the wider public of wearing face coverings, but observational findings so far suggest that homemade or purchased three-layer face-coverings might reduce transmission from one person to another if made, worn, handled and disposed of properly.
“Therefore, on balance, we are recommending to the people of Wales that three-layer face-coverings should be used in situations where social distancing measures can be more difficult to achieve, for example, on public transport. We are not recommending their use outdoors.”
Arriva Bus Wales said young children under the age of 11 or children on dedicated school transport services are exempt.
People with the following conditions will also be exempt:
- Breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions
- Conditions affecting their dexterity, meaning they are not able to put on a face covering
- Mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders
- Other non-visible disabilities such as autism
- Cognitive impairments, including dementia, who may not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering
- Visual impairments, with a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view
- Impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain
- those who rely on lip reading. This would include carers who are travelling with someone for whom a face covering will inhibit communication
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