Face coverings will be compulsory for passengers on buses, trains, aircraft and ferries in England from June 15, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says.
“As of Monday 15th of June, face coverings will become mandatory on public transport,” he told a daily COVID-19 news conference on Thursday.
“That doesn’t mean surgical masks, which we must keep for clinical settings, it means the kind of face covering you can easily make at home.
“The evidence suggests that wearing face coverings offers some, albeit limited, protection against the spread of the virus,” he added.
Britain’s death toll from people who tested positive for COVID-19 has risen by 176 to 39,904, the government said on Thursday.
The June 15 rule change coincides with plans to reopen more shops and have some secondary school pupils return to school as Britain gradually relaxes its coronavirus lockdowns. Mr Shapps said those changes would put “more pressure” on the public transport network.
The mask requirement applies only to Britain. However, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government was considering whether to make face coverings mandatory in some situations.
Scotland currently recommends wearing coverings in shops and on public transport.
In Wales, face coverings have not yet been recommended for the general public. In Northern Ireland, people have been told to consider wearing them in places where they cannot observe social distancing.
However, masks are compulsory on public transport in some other European countries, including France and Germany.