1 in 10 Londoners ditch face masks on the Tube despite TfL rules

·4 min read
Commuters, some not wearing facemasks, getting on a Jubilee Line train at 0843 at Canning Town station, London, after the final legal Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021.
Commuters, some not wearing face masks, getting on a Jubilee Line train at Canning Town station, London, on Monday. (PA)

Around 1 in 10 commuters on London’s transport network ditched their face masks on "Freedom Day" despite the coverings being made compulsory.

England lifted the majority of its mandatory coronavirus restrictions on Monday, including the legal requirement to wear a face mask in public spaces.

However, London mayor Sadiq Khan has said face masks will remain compulsory on the capital’s transport network as a “condition of carriage”.

This means enforcement officers can deny access or eject passengers found to be non-compliant while using the Transport for London (TfL) network.

However, many commuters were pictured on Monday on the tube without face masks.

Khan said on Monday the “vast majority” of people were wearing masks on his commute into work.

Watch: Sadiq Khan says wearing a mask the 'most unselfish thing you can do'

He said: “If I could guess, I would say north of 90% and what I think that shows is that people are carrying on their great habits from the last few weeks.

“I’m disappointed that it is no longer national legislation.

“The good news is that it appears that those visiting London are doing the right thing.”

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A nurse travelling to work on the London Underground, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “Cases are rising and it is worrying that some people are choosing not to wear masks.

“It is not too much to ask for people to wear a mask to protect those who are vulnerable.

“I have seen first-hand what happens if people don’t act sensibly.”

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan wears a mask as he rides on a Circle Line train on the Underground to visit the London Transport Museum. Picture date: Wednesday July 14, 2021.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has made face masks compulsory on the city's tranport network. (PA)
Commuters, some not wearing facemasks, at Waterloo Station at 0909 in London after the final legal Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021.
Commuters at Waterloo Station in London on Monday morning. (PA)
Commuters, some not wearing facemasks, getting off a Circle Line train at Westminster Underground station, at 0847 in London after the final legal Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021.
Not all commuters were wearing face masks on London transport on Monday. (PA)

John Raim, 32, said: “Wearing a mask is second nature to me now. It feels more normal for me to wear one than not. I think the decision to make mask wearing compulsory in London is a good one.”

A group of female friends, who were not wearing masks, said: “We did our make-up to hang out and did not want to ruin it. Sweat and makeup is not a good combination, and it can be dangerous to sit in a hot mask on a long journey like we had.”

One commuter, Don Lita, explained that he was not wearing a mask because he has “ear allergies”, adding: “I think it is not fair to force people to wear masks.”

Commuter Anne-Marie Doherty said: “There are signs saying wear a mask and there are still people in my carriage not wearing a mask. They didn’t have a badge saying they were exempt either.

“I think things have gotten very sloppy. I’m double-jabbed and I am worried.”

Commuters, some not wearing facemasks, on a Jubilee Line train at 0850 in London after the final legal Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021.
A number of London commuters decided not to wear face masks on Monday. (PA)
Commuters, some not wearing facemasks, at Stratford station at 0830 in London after the final legal Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021.
Commuters at Stratford station in London on Monday. (PA)

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi said people should respect the rules of individual public transport authorities.

He told BBC Breakfast on Monday: “If you want to go into a shop and the shop owner says you have to wear a mask, people should absolutely respect that.

“If you want to travel on public transport and your public transport system says you have to wear a mask, then you should wear a mask.

Commuters, some not wearing facemasks, on a Jubilee Line tube train to Westminster at 0822 in London after the final legal Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021.
Commuters on a Jubilee Line tube train in London on Monday. (PA)
Commuters, some not wearing facemasks, at Westminster Underground station, at 0851 in London after the final legal Coronavirus restrictions were lifted in England. Picture date: Monday July 19, 2021.
Face masks remain compulsory on London transport despite the lifting of nationwide restrictions. (PA)

“By the way, you don’t know if the person sitting next to you on that crowded carriage may be someone who is immuno-suppressed or immuno-compromised – it is right that you take that responsibility and protect yourself and protect them as well.”

UK supermarkets have said they will continue to encourage customers and staff to wear face masks on their premises.

People in West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire will have to continue wearing face masks in bus stations operated by the combined authorities, while passengers using the Metro in the North East will also be required to wear a face covering.

Face coverings will also remain compulsory on Greater Manchester’s Metrolink tram services and the Heathrow Express.

Watch: Face masks will remain compulsory on London transport network

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