The Government has announced that wearing a face covering will be mandatory in Scotland when using public transport from 22 June.
Q. What is a face covering and where can I get one?
A. A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while still allowing you to breathe comfortably, for example a scarf or bandana that ties snugly behind the head. You can buy a face covering but the Government has put together a guide showing you how you can make your own. Check out the Government guide.
Q. Do I need to wear it at the bus stop/station as well as on the coach?
A. No but make sure you're prepared to wear it as soon as you step on board. Remember to keep 2m distance at the bus stop/station.
Q. I’ve forgotten my face covering can I still travel?
A. It's now mandatory to wear a face covering when travelling on public transport in Scotland, unless you're exempt, and we reserve the right to refuse people travel if they're not wearing a face covering.
Q. Who is exempt from wearing a face covering?
A. The Government has put together a list of people who are exempt from wearing a face covering. Exemptions include:
· a child under the age of 5
· staff such as drivrs who are physically seperated, by means of, for example, screens, from other staff and passengvers.
· you have a health condition where a face covering would be inappropriate because it would cause difficulty, pain or severe distress or anxiety or because you cannot apply a covering and wear it in the proper manner safely and consistently.
· you have a reasonable need to eat or drink
· you need to take medication
· you need to communicate with someone else who relies on lip reading
· a relevant person, such as a police officer, asks you to remove your face covering.
Q. I am exempt from wearing a face covering, do I need to prove this to the driver?
A. You do not need to provide any evidence of your exemption, however, if you would like to we recommend using the Thistle Assistance Card/App. There are many different types of journey assistance card - don't worry if you don't use the Thistle Card, our drivers will recognise the critical information from any journey assistance card to help you when travelling on our coaches.
Q. Do children need to wear a face covering?
A. All children under the age of 5 are exempt from wearing a face covering. Children over the age of 5 must wear a face covering, unless they’re exempt on medical grounds, in line with government guidance.
Q. Why are drivers not preventing people who aren't wearing a face covering from travelling?
A. In line with the government guidelines, we are asking our drivers to engage, encourage and explain the new regulations to customers. The regulations are still very new and it will take time for everybody to adapt. Our drivers do reserve the right to prevent people from boarding the coach if they feel this is the right course of action.
Q. Will face coverings be available at bus stations and on board coaches?
A. No, we're not able to give out face coverings to our customers.
Q. If someone is travelling without a face covering what should I do?
A. Please bear in mind that some people are exempt from wearing a face covering and the reason why may not be immediately obvious. This is a big change and may take a little time for people to get used to, our drivers will remind passengers that face coverings are now compulsory when travelling by coach unless you are exempt.
Q. How will the wearing of face coverings be enforced?
A. Ultimately, only police forces have the powers to enforce the new regulations by fining those not wearing face coverings as required. We'll continue to appeal to customers to act responsibly and follow the Government's rules. Under exceptional circumstances, we may need to take further action by involving local police, but this would be a last resort.
Q. The driver isn’t wearing a face covering why do I have to?
A. Our drivers have a protective screen that acts as a barrier. If your driver needs to leave their cab, they must wear a face covering.
Q. Why are you not providing hand sanitiser alongside requiring passengers to wear face coverings?
A. We're encouraging our customers to thoroughly wash their hands before and after travelling and to carry their own hand sanitiser, if they can.
Q. Will there be a fine for not wearing a face covering? How much will it be?\
A. The British Transport Police and local police forces have been given the authority to issue fines but this would be a last resort.
Q. Will coach drivers be expected to call the police if someone refuses to wear a face covering?
A. We'd expect our customers and drivers to work together at this time to support government guidance. Drivers will have discretion to take the most appropriate form of action and this may include in some limited circumstances contacting the Police through their control room. This is not something we would expect a driver to do as a matter of course.
Q. If I use a face covering, will there be somewhere to leave it when I get off the bus?
A. No, it's important for everyone's safety that you take any used face coverings with you and dispose of them carefully.
Q. Are face coverings required if the bus or coach service isn’t open to the public?
A. Yes. Required on all buses and coaches.
Q. Has there been any consideration around the fact that coach journeys can be lengthy and we will be asking passengers to wear a mask for a considerable amount of time?
A. While we know wearing a face covering won't be the most comfortable experience, it's necessary to keep everyone safe and you're required to use a face covering on your journey on public transport in Scotland
We know that being able to eat and drink on a long journey, and other practical functions need to be taken into consideration, especially for those with medical needs.
Q. Can I drink water on a bus or coach on a hot day and remove my face covering to do so?
A. Yes, of course, but please replace your face covering as soon as you've taken a drink.
We ask that you follow the advice on using face coverings closely, which is to wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting a face covering on and after taking it off, avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you've had an opportunity to wash them.
Guidance on the use of suitable face coverings is available from the Scottish Governement