BUS and rail bosses have welcomed plans to make face coverings compulsory for passengers to prevent the spread of coronavirus, saying it gives people ‘confidence to travel’.

All passengers on public transport - whether they are getting on buses at Worcester bus station or boarding trains at the city’s Shrub Hill or Foregate Street stations - risk fines if they do not wear face coverings from Monday, June 15.

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This follows a Government announcement on Thursday but one Worcester coach company said it was simply 'good manners' to prevent the spread of the virus and reinforced existing safety measures and precautions they were taking already.

Rob Hughes, operations director at First Worcester, said: “The safety and wellbeing of our staff and customers remains First Worcester’s priority as we continue to adhere to industry leading social distancing measures on bus and other enhanced safety procedures.” The Confederation of Passenger Transport (CPT) says buses are ‘already safe to use as operators have introduced enhanced cleaning regimes alongside other measures including restricting capacity, but making face coverings mandatory will give more passengers the confidence to travel’. A CPT spokesman said: “We will need passengers to work with us and wear their own face covering to comply with this new requirement.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said: “Wearing face coverings on trains will help to ensure that those who need to travel by rail can do so with confidence. Greater use of face coverings will boost the other measures we are putting in place to keep people safe, like more thorough cleaning, improved information on potential crowding and one-way systems at busier stations. We are confident that people will want to do the right thing, follow the rules and wear a face covering. We will be have lots of reminders up around stations and elsewhere, and remember, we are talking about coverings here which can be made quite simply, not surgical masks, so it will be relatively easy for people to do. Ultimately though, rail staff will be supported by British Transport Police to stop people from travelling if they have to and, as a last resort, fines can be issued if people travel without a face covering.”

Martin Rowley of Commandery Coaches based in Tolladine Road, Worcester said even before it was mandatory the company recommended the use of face coverings.

He said: "It’s a positive and practical move and almost in the current climate only good manners.

"Any day-to-day practical measures we all can take can only be an added tool to fight Covid-19 even if it's just washing hands and always wearing a face covering in confined spaces."