London keeping mask mandate on public transport: mayor

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Residents of London will be required to continue wearing masks on public transportation even after the mask mandate ends for the country, according to the city’s mayor.

Sadiq Khan made the announcement on Wednesday, saying that he requested that the city’s transportation officials continue to enforce the use of masks on buses, trams and the subway as part of a legal agreement between Transport for London and passengers, according to The Associated Press.

Khan’s request comes as cases of the coronavirus have surged across the U.K. The London mayor explained that he is “not prepared” to put those who use public transportation “at risk” by removing the mask mandate restrictions with the rest of the country, as is scheduled for next Monday, the news outlet noted.

As part of enforcing mask-wearing on public transportation per Khan’s request, enforcement officers will have the authority to deny a patron from riding the buses, trams or subway if they fail to wear a mask or eject them if they remove their masks once they have gotten on their chosen mode of transportation.

British Transport Police and London’s Metropolitan Police, however, will reportedly not be able to enforce mask-wearing as it will no longer be mandated by law.

“What would have been far better is for the national rules to apply across the country, not just in London but across the country,” Khan said, according to the AP. “That would have provided clarity in relation to what the rules are.”

Earlier this month, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that all coronavirus restrictions in England would be lifted by July 19.

“We must be honest with ourselves that if we can’t reopen our society in the next few weeks when we will be helped by the arrival of summer and by the school holidays, then we must ask ourselves when will we be able to return to normal,” Johnson said at the time.

The U.K. has reported nearly 4,051,000 coronavirus-related deaths and over 187,914,000 infections since the start of the pandemic, according to Johns Hopkins.

Tags coronavirus restrictions England London mask mandates Transportation
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