Here’s everything you need to know about masks on buses, trains, and boats in Portsmouth as restrictions ease on Monday

TRANSPORT firms across the area are planning new mask policies as train, boat, and bus companies urge passengers to keep following government Covid guidance.

Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 3:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th July 2021, 3:29 pm

Firms have been told by the government that they must decide whether to require passengers to wear masks come Monday.

As Covid rules are being relaxed from July 19, transport firms are left to individually decide whether to enforce face covering use.

A spokesperson for the Rail Delivery Group, including Southern Rail, said: ‘Rail companies will ask people to follow the government guidance and, out of respect for others, wear face coverings if an indoor setting is busy.

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The Hovercraft terminal in Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing
The Hovercraft terminal in Southsea. Picture: Sarah Standing

‘Train travel is low risk, with the majority of carriages well ventilated by air conditioning systems or by doors and windows.’

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Nigel Wonnacott, head of communications for Brittany Ferries, said: ‘Brittany Ferries will require all passengers to continue to wear masks in all public areas of the ships other than in cabins because we are a French flag company and the rules we operate under are French.

‘We’re very grateful that all our customers have been compliant and helpful in making that happen over the last few months.’

Sajid Javid, health secretary, said that face coverings are recommended, but that those without masks would not be fined.

A spokeswoman for Portsmouth International Port said: ‘We’re waiting for guidance from the Department for Transport but it’s likely that we’ll be keeping the mask policy in place in the terminal. It will be reviewed regularly.’

A spokesman for First Solent said that it is also waiting for more detailed guidance.

He said: ‘The government’s recommendation is to wear face coverings if you come into contact with people you don’t normally meet in enclosed and crowded spaces.

‘We accept that this is our customers’ personal choice and we will encourage everyone to respect their fellow passengers onboard our services.

‘At First Bus, we continue to help our customers to plan journeys with app technology that gives them live updates on bus capacity and seating, together with practical measures such as enhanced daily cleaning with long-lasting sanitiser to maintain safe travel.’

Stagecoach will be following the plan set out in a statement made by The Confederation of Passenger Transport, which said: ‘We expect that many people, especially in busy places, will follow the Prime Minister’s call to continue to wear a face covering as a courtesy to others.

‘Passengers though will find it difficult to understand why the Prime Minister has singled out public transport as somewhere to wear a face covering when a range of other activities share its characteristics.

‘We now need to see clear guidance for operators and customers but, in the absence of regulations, it is important that we respect everyone’s right to choose whether to wear a face covering.’

John Burrows, Wightlink’s fleet and operations director said: ‘Although increasing numbers of people are now fully vaccinated, the pandemic is still not over.

‘We all need to take sensible precautions to stop the spread of coronavirus, despite the easing of regulations and that means everyone still needs to wear a face covering indoors, unless they are exempt. We will keep this policy under review.

‘Fresh air is all important as it helps stop the spread of coronavirus. Wightlink’s passenger lounges are spacious and well-ventilated and customers can enjoy plenty of sea breezes on the outside decks.

‘All customers, including foot passengers, should book in advance to be sure of travelling on the sailing of their choice, as we expect the summer to be busy.’

Stephen Forster, media manager for Hovertravel, said: ‘We are finalising our plans.

‘A customer communication about this will be out on Friday.’

South Western Railway was contacted.

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