COVID Face Coverings FAQs
Q. What is a face covering and where can I get one?
A. A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while still allowing you to breathe comfortably, for example a scarf or bandana that ties snugly behind the head. You can buy a face covering but the Government has put together a guide showing you how you can make your own. Check out the Government guide.
Q. Will your drivers wear a face covering?
A. Our drivers have a protective screen that acts as a barrier so don't need to wear a face covering whilst driving. If the driver needs to leave their cab to help a customer, they must wear a face covering and face visor.
Q. Are there exemptions from the new regulations?
A. The Government has put together a list of people who are exempt from wearing a face covering. Exemptions in England include:
· a child under the age of 11
· an employee of the transport operator, when they are acting in the course of their employment
· any other person providing services to the transport operator, under arrangements made with the transport operator, who is providing those services
· a constable or police community support officer acting in the course of their duty
· an emergency responder such as a paramedic or fire officer acting in the course of their duty
· an official, for example a border force officer, acting in the course of their duties
The requirement to wear a face covering also does not apply if you have a reasonable excuse not to.
Reasonable excuses include:
· if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
· if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
· if you are travelling with, or providing assistance to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
· if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
· if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
· if you need to eat, drink, or take medication you can remove your face covering
· if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard that young children, people with disabilities and people with breathing difficulties can travel without wearing a face covering.
Q. What are exemptions for not wearing a face covering - I'm autistic and can't have anything touching my face?
A. We understand that some people will be unable to wear a face covering and government guidelines have included some exemptions.
Q. Do children need to wear a face covering?
A. In England and Wales, all children under the age of 11 are exempt from wearing a face covering. It's under 5's in Scotland. Children over this age must wear a face covering, unless they're exempt on medical grounds, in line with government guidance.
Q. How will drivers know if someone is exempt from the requirement to wear a face covering?
A. If you’re exempt from wearing a face covering, we recommend that you download a Journey Assistance card from our parent company, Stagecoach.
Q. What happens if I don't wear a face covering?
A. Wearing a face covering on public transport is now a legal requirement by government. If you do not wear a face covering you will be breaking the law and could be fined. We reserve the right to refuse people travel if they're not wearing a face covering.
Q. I've forgotten my face covering can I still travel?
A. It's now mandatory to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport, unless you're exempt, and we reserve the right to refuse people travel if they're not wearing a face covering
Q. How will the wearing of face coverings be enforced?
A. Ultimately, only police forces have the powers to enforce the new regulations by fining those not wearing face coverings as required. We'll continue to appeal to customers to act responsibly and follow the Government's rules. Our drivers do have the discretion to refuse customers or contact the police where they think it is necessary.
Under exceptional circumstances, we may need to take further action by involving local police, but this would be a last resort.
Q. Will there be a fine for not wearing a face covering? How much will it be?
A. The police have been given the authority to issue fines starting at £200.
Q. Will drivers be expected to call the police if someone refuses to wear a face covering?
A. We'd expect our customers and drivers to work together at this time to support government guidance. Drivers will have discretion to take the most appropriate form of action and this may include in some limited circumstances contacting the police through their control room. This is not something we would expect a driver to do as a matter of course.
Q. Why are drivers not preventing people who aren't wearing a face covering from travelling?
A. In line with the government guidelines, we are asking our drivers to engage, encourage and explain the new regulations to customers. The regulations are still very new and it will take time for everybody to adapt. Our drivers do reserve the right to prevent people from boarding the bus if they feel this is the right course of action.
Q. If someone is travelling without a face covering what should I do?
A. Please bear in mind that some people are exempt from wearing a face covering and the reason why may not be immediately obvious. This is a big change and may take a little time for people to get used to. Our drivers will remind passengers that face coverings are now compulsory when travelling by coach unless they are exempt.
Q. Will face coverings be available at coach stations and on board the coaches?
A. No, customers have a responsibility to bring their own face covering.
Q. Are you providing hand sanitiser alongside requiring passengers to wear face coverings?
A. Yes, we will have anti-bac stations available on board. However, we are also advising customers to wash their hands before travelling and to carry their own hand sanitiser.
Q. Do I need to wear it at the coach stop/station as well as on the coach?
A. Yes. We’d ask you wear your face covering when at the stop/station, as well as when you’re on board.
Q. Can I remove my face covering while I am on the coach?
A. No. You should wear your face covering at all times while you are on the coach and only remove it once you have exited the coach, unless you are covered under the Government's list of exemptions. Visit the gov.uk website for England, Welsh government website and Scottish government website for more information.
Q. Can I drink water on a bus or coach on a hot day and remove my face covering to do so?
A. Yes, but please replace your face covering as soon as you've taken a drink.
Q. Has there been any consideration around the fact that coach journeys can be lengthy and we will be asking passengers to wear a mask for a considerable amount of time?
A. While we know wearing a face covering won't be the most comfortable experience, it's necessary to keep everyone safe and you're required by law to use a face covering on your journey on public transport in England.
We know that being able to eat and drink on a long journey, and other practical functions need to be taken into consideration, especially for those with medical needs.
Q. If I use a face covering, will there be somewhere to leave it when I get off the coach?
A. No, it's important for everyone's safety that you take any used face coverings with you and dispose of them carefully.
We ask that you follow the advice on using face coverings closely, which is to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on and after taking it off, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you've had an opportunity to wash them.
Last updated at 16:07 on 25/02/2021