Face Masks Now Mandatory in Private Hire Vehicles
Face masks and face coverings have become part of everyday life due to the ever worsening COVID-19 Pandemic. They become mandatory for all passengers on Public Transport in England on the 15th June including buses, trains and aircraft, but the requirement to wear them in Taxi’s and Private Hire Vehicles was a bit of a Grey Area. The devolved administrations in Scotland and Wales legislated to make face masks mandatory in Taxis and Private Hired Vehicles on the 22nd June and 27th July respectively. Some Private Hire Firms such as Uber and Ola made it a requirement for their drivers and passengers alike to wear face coverings when using their service.
To mitigate against the transmission of the Virus while the lockdown measures were gradually reduced, on the 24th July it became Law for all customers to wear face coverings in shops but at the time did not include staff. From this point on, the general public appeared to accept that face coverings were here to stay... at least for the short term. A £100 'on the spot' fine may have had a part to play in this acceptance.
More recently as the ‘second wave’ of COVID-19 has spread across Europe and now the UK, the government are attempting to bring in stricter measures with an aim to reduce or at the very least slow the spread of the Virus whilst we await a more permanent treatment such as a vaccine. Part if of these new measures included the wearing of face coverings in all Taxis and Private Hire Vehicles which became Law in England on 23rd September. As a Chauffeured Vehicle is licensed by the Local Authority as a Privately Hired Vehicle, Chauffeured Vehicles are covered by this Law, although Downing Street did introduce some ambiguity by stating that Chauffeured Vehicles (Ministers Cars) would be exempt from this new Law (The Independent-chauffeur driven passengers exempt from mandatory face mask rule). They also added that the operator and owner of the company are required to ensure that their Drivers are working in a ‘COVID safe’ environment.
If you are caught breaking these new laws the Police can issue an on the spot fine of £200 (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days), this fine will double on each subsequent occasion that you are caught with a maximum fine of £6,400!
It is not absolutely clear whether Drivers of Taxi’s or Privately Hired Vehicles are required to wear a face covering with some parts of the Media reporting that drivers are not included in this new Law. At Executive Chauffeur North West your Driver will always wear a face covering for the protection of our customers. As part of our service we are also able to supply hand sanitising gel and face masks for our customers (from the surgical type mask to designer face coverings).
Q. Does UK Law require me to wear a face covering in a Chauffeured Vehicle?
A. A Chauffeured Vehicle is licensed as a Privately Hired Vehicle by the Local Authority and therefore you are required by Law to wear a face mask or covering unless you have a legitimate reason not to (see below).
Q. What happens if I do not wear a face covering in a Chauffeured Vehicle?
A. The police can issue an on the spot fine of £200 (reduced to £100 if paid within 14 days) if you are caught travelling in a Chauffeured Vehicle not wearing a face mask of covering without a reasonable excuse.
Q. I’ve ordered Alcohol for consumption during my journey, can I remove my face mask to eat or drink?
A. Yes, eating or drinking is a legitimate reason to remove your face covering when traveling on public transport including in your Chauffeured Vehicle (see below).
Q. Are there any occasions when I do not have to wear or can remove my face Covering?
A. You do not need to wear a face covering if you have a legitimate reason not to. This includes:
if you have a physical or mental illness or impairment, or a disability that means you cannot put on, wear or remove a face covering
if putting on, wearing or removing a face covering would cause you severe distress
if you are travelling with, or providing help to, someone who relies on lip reading to communicate
if you are travelling to avoid injury or escape the risk of harm, and you do not have a face covering with you
if you need to remove it during your journey to avoid harm or injury or the risk of harm or injury to yourself or others
if you need to eat, drink, or take medication on public transport
if you are asked to remove your face covering by a police officer or other official, for example to check your railcard
in other situations set out in further government face covering guidance