Nexus explains the rules and enforcement around wearings masks on the Metro
The Government has declared face coverings MUST be worn on pubic transport from Monday.
But why now? And what exactly do the rules say and who will be responsible for enforcing them.
Metro operator Nexus has issued a question and answer guide to the new rules.
What has been announced by the Government?
Face coverings will be compulsory on all public transport from Monday 15 June.
What do I need to do?
Everyone must wear a face covering when making a journey and this is a condition of travel.
Where do I wear the face covering?
On board all trains, buses and ferries and when you are at stations and interchanges.
What should the face covering be?
Passengers should wear the kind of face covering that can be made at home. They should cover the mouth and nose and can be something as simple as a snood, a scarf or a bandana tied snugly behind the head.
Are you giving away free face coverings?
We will not be handing out face coverings to customers – it is their own responsibility to provide one.
Who is going to police this?
It is not the job of Nexus employees to enforce Government public health instructions ourselves, but we have a key role to play in supporting their introduction as we seek to provide a Covid-secure environment our customers feel happy and comfortable using.
Will you be issuing fines to those not wearing masks? What will the fine be?
No. Our staff will be giving advice to passengers but enforcement of the rule will fall to Northumbria Police and the British Transport Police.
We are talking to the police about exactly how it will be enforced and what, if any, fixed penalty will be issued for not wearing a face covering.
Who is exempt from wearing a face covering? Do I need to be able to prove I have a condition?
Very young children, disabled people and those with breathing difficulties would be exempt from the new rule, the Government has confirmed. Our employees will not be asking people to show proof that they have a medical condition that exempts them from wearing a face covering.
Will a Metro driver refuse to move a train if they see people not wearing one?
No. It is not the remit of Metro drivers to enforce the rule.
Why was this not implemented ten weeks ago?
The public transport industry is following the advice set down by Government, who take their advice from Public Health England. From the outset of the pandemic the advice was that face masks were only of use in clinical and care settings.
The Government advised that people should wear a face covering on public transport from Sunday 10 May.
This has now become mandatory as more people go back to work and school and shops start to re-open. Passenger numbers are expected to rise and face coverings will be vital as it becomes harder to maintain social distancing on buses and trains.