Passengers on public transport in England will soon need to wear a face covering to be allowed to travel.
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps made the announcement at Thursday’s Downing Street press briefing, warning commuters they could be fined or refused permission to board buses or trains if if they do not comply with the new measures.
The Secretary of State said staff who come into contact with passengers will also have to wear face coverings.
Here, we answer some key questions about the new rule.
What has the Government said?
People must wear face coverings when using public transport in England from June 15.
This includes tube, rail and bus passengers.
Why is it recommending face coverings?
The Government states that, while wearing a face covering does not protect the wearer, it may protect others if people are infected but have not yet developed symptoms.
Where else should they be worn?
Current advice is for face coverings to be worn in enclosed spaces, which also includes some shops.
People are not being told to wear them outdoors, while exercising, in schools or offices.
Will I be fined for not wearing one?
Commuters could be fined or refused permission to travel if they do not comply with the order aimed at stopping the spread of the virus.
“It is condition of travel. You cannot travel unless you are wearing a face covering,” Mr Shapps has said.
What about masks?
Several airlines such as easyJet and Ryanair have introduced a requirement for passengers to wear face masks.
But the Government believes these should be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers.
If I develop Covid-19 symptoms, can I still go out if I wear a mask or covering?
No. People with coronavirus symptoms and their household should isolate at home, as the current advice states.
What sort of face coverings should I use?
Scarves, cotton home-made coverings that cover nose and mouth and other bought masks that are not ones used by the health service are fine.
Officials said that people can make coverings at home, but added that “the key thing is it should cover your mouth and nose”.
What is the science?
The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (Sage) thinks the evidence of masks preventing the spread of infection from one person to another is “marginal but positive”.
The World Health Organisation has stressed that there is no evidence that wearing a mask – whether medical or other types – by healthy persons in the wider community can prevent them from infection with respiratory viruses, including Covid-19.
Are there any downsides to using face coverings?
Concerns have been raised that they could give a false sense of security and mean that people are less stringent with other preventative measures such as social distancing and hand hygiene.