Signs ordering masks to be worn 'will come down' at Sheffield's tram and bus stops
Signs mandating face masks on Sheffield’s buses and trams ‘will come down’ and be replaced with notices ‘strongly recommending’ face coverings after July 19.
Public transport operators have been told it will be up to them to make a decision whether passengers will be required to wear masks on their services.
Despite this, operators are yet to receive formal guidance from the Department for Transport about their power to set rules.
However, the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has confirmed they are replacing signs at interchanges and bus-tram stops with ones that “strongly encourage” wearing face coverings.
A Sheffield City Region spokesperson said: “It would be up to individual operators to continue to mandate the wearing of face coverings as a condition of carriage.
“We would strongly encourage people to continue to wear them on public transport and at interchanges, to keep each other safe as Covid cases rise rapidly.”
It comes after Councillor Ben Curran called on Sheffield Council on Monday (July 12) to make it law in Sheffield for face masks to remain compulsory.
There are fears from the public transport industry that more than three million people in England will avoid public transport if face masks become voluntary.
Coun Douglas Johnson, Executive member for transport, replied to Coun Curran’s question at a full council meeting and said: “The Government has decided that restrictions should be lifted and it will not be against the law to fail to wear a face mask now.
“There have been demands to make bus drivers police people’s activity but we have to be very mindful of those on the front line as sometimes they’ve experienced real hostility.
“I want to urge everyone to show some tolerance. I certainly encourage the public to wear face masks, and to be respectful of each other, and be aware that this virus certainly hasn’t gone away.”
It comes after Sheffield’s bus and tram services previously said they could not offer a firm policy on whether they will ask customers to wear masks. More than a week later, they are still waiting on formal Government guidance on their abilities.