Face covering guidance

All Londoners are now being asked to wear a face covering where they can’t keep a safe distance (2 metres) from others.  

From Monday 15 June, the government has made it mandatory for passengers on public transport in England to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth for the entirety of any journeys made. This includes travel on both TfL and non-TfL networks.

A face covering is not the same as a medical face mask. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical face masks are used in very specific circumstances, like health and care settings. 

A face covering isn't a substitute for staying at home, washing hands frequently (for at least 20 seconds) and keeping at least 2 metres apart.

It is very important to note, this does not mean lockdown is over or that you can leave your home for non-essential journeys.

Who needs to wear one?

Wearing a face covering should be possible for all Londoners and Government has made it mandatory for passengers on public transport in England from 15 June. 

They can be made using items and material they have at home already, such as scarves, bandannas and t-shirts.  Londoners are asked to wear a face covering on public transport or wherever it is not possible to keep a safe distance from others, for example in shops.

There are however some people who should not wear a face mask, they are:

  • people who have trouble breathing
  • children under 3 years old (under 11s do not need to wear a face covering on public transport, read the Government guidance)
  • anyone who finds it difficult to manage them correctly

Young children should have adult supervision when wearing a face covering.

Why wearing a face covering helps

'Yours protects them and theirs protects you.'

Face coverings help by catching the small droplets we sometimes spread when we talk or cough. These can contain coronavirus (COVID-19) and land on surfaces and other people. This can be an issue if someone has the virus, but no symptoms. By wearing a face covering you protect those around you and they protect you by wearing theirs.

Remember, if you feel unwell you should stay at home.

Face coverings are not the same as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or medical face masks, those are used in very specific circumstances like health and care settings.

How to make your own face covering

Face coverings should be reusable and can be made from materials in your home - you just need to make sure you have enough fabric to cover from the top of your nose to the bottom of your chin.

Watch the video below for tips on how to make your homemade face covering.

Wearing and washing your face covering safely

It is important to remember that even if your mouth and nose are covered the infection can be spread on your hands. 

Always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap, when you get home and before and after handling your face covering in any way. Avoid touching your face, nose, mouth and eyes at all times.  

If you are using a single-use face covering, please ensure you dispose of it safely in your black bag rubbish at home if possible. Never litter your face covering or gloves. This puts other people at risk, especially refuse collectors and street cleaners.

Remember that wearing a face covering is not a substitute for staying at home as much as possible, washing your hands frequently, and keeping at least 2 metres from others. 

Putting your face covering on

Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face or face covering with unwashed hands or gloves. Put the covering on without touching the front of the covering, and ensure loose ends are tucked away when you have it on.

Taking your face covering off

Remove your face covering trying not to touch the front or face covering area. When you have removed it, store it in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash it. Make sure you wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap after handling your face covering. 

Washing your face covering

Face coverings can be washed as part of your laundry and using your normal detergent.   

Make sure you wash your hands after handling a used face mask and avoid touching your face and eyes.  Once removed make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched. 


For more questions on face coverings or coronavirus guidance in other areas please visit the frequently asked questions.

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