The MP for Welwyn Hatfield announced yesterday that face coverings, not masks, are to become mandatory on public transport.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said the restrictions will come into force for bus, coach, train, tram, ferry and aircraft passengers from June 15, when non-essential shops reopen.

But Mr Shapps said the advice is still to “avoid public transport wherever possible”.

“As restrictions are carefully eased when it is safe to do so, it’s likely that we will see more people needing to use public transport,” he said.

“So, while respecting social distancing and maintaining good hand hygiene remain the most important steps we can all take to stay safe, wearing a face covering can play a role in helping us to protect each other.

“This is about the small changes we can take to help control the virus, which is why I urge everyone using transport to wear a face covering – to help keep us all safer.”

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.”

Hertfordshire County Council has already said that face coverings do not protect the wearer against coronavirus but they can help provide some protection to other people if you have the virus and are displaying no symptoms.

The safe use of face coverings is crucial wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on, taking it off, washing it and storing it; and clean any surfaces your face covering has come into contact with. HCC says you should avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them - which should be after each use, in your usual laundry, using normal detergent.

A face covering is made of cloth and covers the nose and mouth. You can use a scarf, buy face coverings online, or make your own ‘no sew’ ones by searching for ‘face coverings’ on