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Face Covering Etiquette

Tuesday 22 September 2020

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Face covering Etiquette – Keeping everyone safe on-board

As we move around during these unprecedented times, trains are a great way to see our favourite places and people. Of course, while we do so, it’s vital that we keep our fellow passengers, those we’re visiting, and the wider communities around them, safe. This is why it’s currently a legal requirement that all passengers onboard any public transport in the UK – including our trains – wear a face covering at all times.

We understand that some people may be exempt from wearing a face covering, and here at CrossCountry, we’re proud to recognise the Hidden Disabilities Sunflower lanyard scheme which supports those who may need a little extra time or assistance when travelling.

Our guide will talk through some key questions around face covering etiquette to keep everyone safe.

Suitable face coverings to wear onboard our services

Any kind of cloth face covering is perfect! Here’s a rundown of the kinds of masks and face coverings which you could wear onboard our services:

Disposable masks

These are often the easiest to find, as they’re sold in many pharmacies, supermarkets and corner shops. While we recommend something reusable as it’s better for the environment, we know it can be easier and more convenient to wear a single use facemask. If you do opt for a single use mask, please dispose of it sensibly when leaving the station at your destination. There are a number of stations that have installed specific disposal bins for your mask, so please keep an eye out for one if available. Alternatively, take it home and put it in the bin there.

Medical or N95 Masks

Although these masks are of a high quality, there’s no need to get a medical grade mask to travel on our trains. There are plenty of other safety measures in place to help you travel safely and with confidence. It’s also important to remember that if you need to take your mask on and off (for example to eat, drink or take medicine), it may be easier and just as safe to wear something that’s less restrictive.

Specially designed reusable cloth masks

These type of masks tend to be better for the environment, and many designs also have, pockets for additional filters (like the N95) which will further improve safety. You can also get lots of designs, fabrics and closure types to suit your style and needs.

Other cloth coverings

Don’t forget that any kind of cloth covering is fine, so a bandana or scarf tied to cover your mouth and nose is acceptable. You do need a specific face covering, so pulling your shirt or other clothing up over your mouth and nose will not be sufficient.

How to wear your face covering

In order to keep yourself and others as safe as possible, there are a couple of things you can do to make sure you’re wearing your face covering properly.

  1. Wash your hands before putting on your face covering.
  2.  If using a reusable face covering, check it before use to make sure it’s not damaged or dirty.
  3. Your face covering should always cover your nose, mouth and chin, and fit snugly on the sides.
  4.  Avoid touching your face covering where possible. If you need to adjust or touch your face covering for any reason, clean your hands thoroughly with soap and water or antibacterial gel.
  5.  If your face covering gets dirty or wet, replace it. If you’re travelling on a longer journey, it may be worth bringing a spare face covering.
  6.  Remove your face covering by the straps, and always avoid touching the front of the mask after it has been worn.

Other face covering safety and etiquette tips

  • If you need to reuse a face covering, keep it in a clean sealable bag, and always remove it by the straps without touching the front.
  • Wash fabric face coverings at least once a day using hot water and soap or detergent.
  • Never share face coverings, even with others in your family or support bubble.
  • Other safety measures should still be adopted even while wearing a face covering, such as keeping distance, regularly washing hands, and taking care not to touch your face.

Some more face covering FAQs

Below we’ve answered a couple of questions you may have about wearing masks onboard our services. For a full list of FAQs, please check out our Coronavirus Page, where you will find all the safety information you need.

When can I take my face covering off?+

You should wear your face covering the entire time you’re onboard one of our trains, and at stations. We ask that you don’t take it off until you leave the station at the other end of your journey, for everyone’s safety.

Can I take my face covering off to eat or drink on board?+

You can take your face covering off to eat and drink on board our trains. However, we ask that you keep refreshments to a minimum, particularly on shorter journeys, as this will mitigate the risks associated with removing your face covering. You may also remove your mask to take medication during your journey. Please remember to put your face covering back on when you finish!

Should my children wear a face covering?+

Children under the age of 11 are not required to wear a face covering while travelling. Please do try to be respectful of other passengers and try to encourage your children to keep their distance from others wherever possible, particularly if they’re not wearing face coverings. For more tips on travelling with children, especially on longer journeys, check out our posts about travelling with kids. If you frequently travel as a family, you may wish to consider a Family and Friends Railcard.

What if I forget my face covering?+

You are not allowed to travel without a face covering and run the risk of up to £6,400 of fines for breaking the law. Please bring one with you, as they may not be available at stations or nearby. National Rail are also starting to install vending machines for masks at some stations. We recommend always having a face covering on your person while you’re out and about. You could also keep a spare, or single use mask in your most frequently used bags so you don’t have to remember to bring one each time.

What if I'm unable to wear a face covering?+

Several groups of people are exempt from the rules – the government has provided full information as to who is exempt and how to keep safe. We do ask that you wear a face covering whenever possible to keep our team as safe as we can. However, all CrossCountry colleagues are aware that not everyone can do so, and so will never ask for proof as to why you cannot wear a face covering.

What should I do if other passengers aren't wearing face coverings?+

We are confident that most people will be wearing face coverings on trains when it is possible and practicable for them to do so. Don’t forget that you may not be able to tell if someone isn’t able to wear a face covering, so we ask that you remain respectful while keeping your face covering on and staying at 2 meters distance wherever possible. For more information on travelling safely, please read our Coronavirus Page.

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