'Don't wait for Plan B': Mayor of London calls on the government to reintroduce face masks

20 October 2021, 16:24 | Updated: 20 October 2021, 16:44

By Megan Hinton

The mayor of London has called on the government not to “wait for plan B” and reintroduce face masks on public transport.

Sadiq Khan told LBC today that he was “afraid” not enough passengers on TFL are wearing masks as concern rises around Covid infections.

Whilst passengers are not required by law to wear a mask on public transport, TFL rules state all customers must wear a face covering for the duration of their journey. Any passenger found without may be denied travel.

Mr Khan said: "I remember last year in April trying to persuade the government to make face masks compulsory on the underground.

"It took them some months to do so and I was disappointed this time when the government removed the national requirement by law to wear a face mask on public transport.

He continued: "I’m afraid the bad news is when I’m using the tube there are too many people not wearing face masks who may not have a good reason not to wear a face mask.

"I don’t want to wait for plan B when the virus is spreading too fast I want the government now, to make it a national requirement so we can reduce the chances of this virus spreading further."

When asked whether face masks could become mandatory in the near future Khan said: "We are still trying to persuade the government to change their mind.

"The government have said that there needs to be a plan b. Part of the plan b would be the compulsory wearing of face masks on public transport.

"I say why wait because if we get to plan b that means things have got so bad the government is considering a plan b."

The London Mayor added that he did not want employees to return to working from home measures.
It comes after the Chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Matthew Taylor, urged the Government to implement the back-up strategy amid rising Covid cases in the UK.

It would see the return of measures such as mandatory face coverings in public places and vaccine passports for nightclub entry.

Mr Taylor said the NHS was preparing for what could be "the most challenging winter on record" and urged the public to "show extra support for the NHS", "behaving in ways that will keep themselves and others safe".

He also warned that if the Government "fails to get a grip" on the increase in cases, the nation's recovery from the pandemic could be "put at risk".