Day two of mandatory face-coverings on public transport descends into farce

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A Tube passenger has today been spotted wearing a face mask over his eyes leaving fellow commuters asking ‘is this how you wear a face mask?’

The man was pictured on a Central Line Tube in London wearing the face covering in similar to way those struggling to sleep use an eye-mask, as the government’s new law making face coverings mandatory on public transport across England descended into a farce.

Others have taken to social media to complain about a lack of enforcement of the new rule, which came into force yesterday.

One Twitter user, who hit out at Transport for London (TfL) said: ‘Another morning of just letting the bus fill up with people with no masks on. Do your job properly, that’s what we are paying for.’  

The man was pictured on a Central Line Tube in London wearing the face covering in similar to way those struggling to sleep use an eye-mask

Another added: ‘We are (TfL) drivers letting customers on buses without face coverings?

‘Even customers that have them are just wearing them off one ear!’

Tim Steer, who tweeted the image of the Tube passenger with the face mask over his eyes, said: ‘Is this how you wear a face mask? Asking for a friend…’ 

It comes as TfL chiefs yesterday revealed a fifth of its bus passengers and up to 20 per cent of Tube users were not complying with the strict new rule on its first day yesterday.

That’s despite government bosses warning passengers without a face covering could be refused entry to public transport, while police and enforcement officers have been given the power to fine people up to £100.

But yesterday TfL chiefs admitted they would not be taking enforcement action yet and the British Transport Police (BTP) saying it too would be taking a ‘gentle approach’ in the first few days of the new law.

A spokesperson for TfL told MailOnline: ‘So far we are seeing most people co-operate with the new rules.  

‘We are seeing 80 per cent compliance on our bus services and between 80 per cent and 90 per cent on Tubes.

‘At first it is really going to be about education and asking them why they are not complying. Enforcement will come at a later date.’

The warning comes as thousands of extra police and staff were yesterday deployed across England’s public transport network to enforce the new rule. 

But within hours of the rule coming in, passengers were seen attempting to enter stations without face-coverings while one man was seen with his mask pushed up onto his forehead and not over his mouth while on sitting on a Tube.

Police officers have also been seen handing out masks to those attempting to enter stations without one.

It comes as more than 3,000 extra staff, including police officers, have been brought in to enforce the rule – which applies to all passengers on trains, buses, Tubes, coaches, trams, planes or ferries. Children under the age of 11 and those with certain health conditions or disabilities are exempt.

One passenger who travelled on a tube today and saw ‘everyone wearing a mask’ said the measure was ‘reassuring’.

The new rule came into play as the government continued to strip back its draconian lockdown laws in place of looser restrictions, which included allowing people to meet with friends inside a ‘social bubble’ – which was brought in at the weekend.

Non-essential shops opened for the first time since March when the lockdown rules were imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus.

A new law making face coverings mandatory on public transport across England was brought in yesterday. Pictured: Passengers wearing face masks on a Tube in London

A new law making face coverings mandatory on public transport across England was brought in yesterday. Pictured: Passengers wearing face masks on a Tube in London

Thousands of extra police and staff were yesterday deployed across England's public transport network to enforce the new rule. Pictured: A sign informing customers of the rule change at Wimbledon Park Tube Station in London

Thousands of extra police and staff were yesterday deployed across England’s public transport network to enforce the new rule. Pictured: A sign informing customers of the rule change at Wimbledon Park Tube Station in London

It also comes after the government changed its stance on the use of face masks, which they say should now be compulsory on public transport – bringing the rules in-line with the World Health Organisation (WHO).  

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘People should continue to avoid public transport wherever possible. But, 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.

‘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.’

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