Transport for Wales and the British Transport Police are collaborating on a week of action across the Welsh rail network to remind customers face coverings must still be worn on public transport.
It follows the Welsh Government’s move to alert level zero from Saturday, August 7.
As a result of the change to alert level zero, TfW has updated its guidance to passengers and face coverings will no longer be required to be worn on uncovered station platforms.
But face coverings remain mandatory on public transport in Wales, unless exempt, and in covered areas such as station buildings, cafes, toilets and waiting rooms.
Lee Waters, Deputy Minister for Climate Change with a responsibility for transport said: “As we slowly start to get our lives back on track, we mustn’t forget that Covid hasn’t gone away. The scientific evidence is clear, wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, such as public transport, reduces the spread of the virus.
“Transport for Wales has kept its services running throughout the pandemic and continue to take steps to keep travellers safe. By continuing to wear face coverings, we can all play our part to keep Wales safe.”
Since the start of 2021, TfW, BTP and partner security agency staff have challenged more than 50,000 people across the Wales and Borders network for not wearing face coverings and refused travel to more than 2,000.
Leyton Powell, Safety and Sustainability Director at TfW, said: Leyton Powell, Safety and Sustainability Director at TfW, said: “As restrictions ease, we want to reassure our customers that their safety remains our priority and that unless exempt, face coverings must still be worn on public transport.
“Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in the number of people not wearing face coverings and we are going to use this opportunity to engage with people and reinforce the message that wearing a face covering helps to protect you and your fellow passengers, some of whom may be anxious about a return to public transport.
“TfW and BTP staff will be interacting with passengers, and we’ll have a number of automated messages at stations and on-board services. We’re also enhancing our messaging on social media and when people buy tickets through our website and app.
“We also have every available carriage in service to provide as much capacity as possible on the network.”
The week of action will see TfW and BTP staff target key areas where face covering compliance has fallen in recent months. This includes services to the North and West Wales coasts.
British Transport Police Chief Inspector Jon Cooze said: “As has been the case throughout the pandemic, our officers will continue with the ‘4Es’ approach of engage, explain, encourage and, as a last resort, enforce any Coronavirus legal requirements.
“As our jurisdiction covers three countries our officers police different laws every day, including throughout the pandemic, and are used to dealing with any challenges this presents.”
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