Face covering FAQs

3 months ago Wed 1st Jul 2020

Wearing a face covering: customer Q&A

Based on Scottish Government guidance: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Phase 2: staying safe and protecting others (physical distancing)

Do I have to wear a face covering on public transport?

Yes, it is mandatory to wear a face covering on public transport in Scotland and in England. There are some exemptions and we ask you not to judge those who cannot wear face coverings.

What if I don’t have a face mask?

Face coverings could be a scarf, mask, face visor, or home-made, as long as they cover your nose and mouth.

Do children have to wear a face covering?

Children under five do not have to wear a face covering in Scotland. Children under 11 do not have to wear a face covering in England.

Why isn’t the driver wearing a face covering?

Drivers do not have to wear a face covering if they are behind a plastic screen, it is their choice. If drivers leave their cab to help a customer, they must wear a face covering.

Will wearing a face covering on public transport prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)?

The Scottish Government says

Though the scientific evidence on the benefits of their use is limited, there may be some benefit in wearing a face covering when entering an enclosed space such as a public transport vehicle or in a railway or bus station or airport where physical distancing is more difficult and where there is a risk of close contact with multiple people that an individual would not usually meet. 

We have also implemented a number of other measures to ensure safe and responsible travel. These include providing customer hand sanitiser, encouraging customers to pay by contactless, thoroughly cleaning vehicles every night and cleaning hot spot areas regularly throughout the day, and keeping windows open to increase ventilation.

Do I have to wear a face covering in bus stations?

Yes, you must wear a face covering in bus stations and interchanges as well as on our vehicles.

Who is exempt from wearing face coverings on public transport?

  • Customers who have a health condition where a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety or because they cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently.
  • Customers who have a reasonable need to eat or drink, although we ask you to refrain from eating or drinking on bus except when necessary on a long journey.
  • Customers who need to take medication.
  • Customers who need to communicate with someone else who relies on lip reading.

Do I have to prove to the bus driver I am exempt from wearing a face covering?

At this time, you do not have to prove you are exempt from wearing a face covering.

Our drivers will not enforce the mandatory wearing of face coverings. The police and other relevant authorities are responsible for enforcing the mandatory wearing of face coverings.

We highly recommend you use the Thistle Assistance card or app if you are exempt from wearing a face covering. It's a free and easy way to let us know you are exempt and is supported by Transport Scotland. You simply show it to your driver when you board the bus. Visit Thistle Assistance to get your card or download the app.

What happens if I do not wear a face covering on public transport and I have no reasonable excuse?

The police and other relevant authorities have the powers to enforce the law where people do not comply. The police will act with discretion and common sense in applying these measures. However, if they believe you have broken these rules and you are 18 or over – or you refuse to follow their instructions – a police officer may issue you with a fixed penalty notice for £60 (reduced to £30 if paid within 28 days). 

Will Borders Buses provide customers with face coverings?

No, we are not able to provide face coverings to customers.

We do encourage you to use the customer hand sanitiser provided when entering and exiting the bus.

What should I do if someone is travelling without a face covering?

Please remember some people are exempt from wearing face coverings and the reason why may be invisible.