As people in England start going back to work today, there has been concern raised over how social distancing is to be met on public transport.
For many people returning to work, public transport may be the only way to get there. This is true for many city commuters, especially in London.
This morning on the BBC breakfast news show, one correspondent was standing at Canning Town station, which is a hub for travel. It has a bus station, tube station and DLR station in close proximity. She explained that although it was quiet at that time, she had already seen a bus arrive that was packed with people, which would make social distancing impossible.
This has been echoed around the capital this morning, where one commuter told the BBC, “It is next to impossible to social distance on the Tube.”
Transport for London reported this morning that passenger numbers were up by 9% between 5am and 6am compared to the same time last week.
Many people are concerned that the increase in people using public transport, especially in cities where it is impossible to social distance, will contribute to a second wave of infection.
Speaking to the BBC, Matt Hickson, a street works inspector, said he said seen less than 10% of people wearing masks and that “People are taking liberties not only with their own health but with other people’s.”
Should I wear a mask in public?
Previously, there was no official advice to wear facemasks in public. However, since the easing of lockdown, the government has advised people using public transport to wear a face covering. This is also recommended for going into shops where social distancing is not always possible. The guidance also mentioned that face coverings were not the same face masks and that these should be reserved for people who need it most. Public Health England has also launched an online guide that details how to make a cloth face covering.
The Scottish and Northern Irish governments had already issued this advice. In Wales, it has also been advised, but the First Minister Mark Drakeford said they were not going to make it mandatory at the moment, as there was not strong enough evidence to support that move.
When addressing Parliament about the ‘roadmap’ for relaxing the lockdown restrictions, Boris Johnson said the public should use “good, solid, British common sense” when changing their lives for the next step to tackle the spread of the virus.
Labour leader Sir Kier Starmer was critical of the approach to the easing of rules, calling for more ‘clarity and reassurance’ from the government.
He also said, “The prime minister said he was setting out a roadmap, but if we’re to complete the journey safely, a road map needs clear directions.” He, among many, still feel like they have questions that need answering.
A 50-page document was released on Monday, which outlines the steps that will be in place over the coming weeks and months.