New Government guidance has urged people vaccinated against COVID-19 to continue applying safety measures put in place when travelling by taxi or minicab.
As Step Two lockdown easement commences today, key safety measures around face coverings when travelling in a taxi or a private hire vehicle are set to continue.
If travelling by taxi, aside from the driver, it is still not permitted to share a taxi or private hire vehicle with someone from outside your household or your support bubble.
Even after receiving a vaccine, passengers should continue to apply safety measures when using taxis or private hire vehicles.
Those travelling in taxis and private hire vehicles must also continue to wear a face covering. Anyone not wearing a covering will be breaking the law if they fail to do so and could be fined. A taxi driver or private hire vehicle operator will be entitled to refuse to accept passangers if they do not wear a face covering, unless they are exempt from the requirement.
The Department for Transport (DfT), who have issued the updated travel guidance, have said riders should stay 2 metres apart from people they do not live with where possible, or 1 metre while wearing a face covering.
Passengers should always follow the advice of the operator and driver. For example, they may be asked to sit in the back left-hand seat if travelling alone. Riders may want to check with their taxi or private hire operator before travelling if they have put any additional measures in place.
When paying for their journey passengers are urged to use contactless payment if possible, or find out if they can pay online in advance.
Graham Robinson, Transport for London’s (TfL) Taxi and Private Hire General Manager, said: “As national lockdown restrictions continue to ease, we would like to reiterate the importance of following the Government’s guidance of Hands. Face. Space. Fresh Air. It remains important to continue to wash your hands, cover your face and make space to control infection rates and avoid a further peak. Government guidance on face coverings is provided here.
“Licensed taxi and private hire drivers are reminded that they are expected to wear a face covering, at all times, when in their licensed vehicle, unless they are exempt.”
Outdoor hospitality will be among those reopening in England today after the Prime Minister confirmed the roadmap is on track and planned easements can go ahead.
Significant parts of the indoor economy and further outdoor settings will also reopen from 12 April, after data confirmed the Government’s “four tests” for easing COVID restrictions had been met.
From today additional premises will be able to reopen – with the rules on social contact applying. Indoor settings must only be visited alone or with household groups, with outdoor settings limited to either six people or two households.
This includes non-essential retail; personal care premises such as hairdressers, beauty and nail salons; and indoor leisure facilities such as gyms and spas (but not including saunas and steam rooms, which are due to open at Step 3).
Overnight stays away from home in England will be permitted and self-contained accommodation can also reopen, though must only be used by members of the same household or support bubble.
Public buildings such as libraries and community centres will also reopen.
The majority of outdoor settings and attractions can also reopen, including outdoor hospitality, zoos, theme parks, drive-in cinemas and drive-in performances events.
Hospitality venues will be able to open for outdoor service, with no requirement for a substantial meal to be served alongside alcohol, and no curfew. The requirement to eat and drink while seated will remain.
People should continue to work from home where they can, and minimise domestic travel where they can. International holidays are still illegal.
The number of care home visitors will also increase to two per resident, and all children will be able to attend any indoor children’s activity, including sport, regardless of circumstance.
Parent and child groups of up to 15 people (not counting children aged under five years old) can restart indoors.
Funerals can continue with up to 30 attendees. Weddings, outdoor receptions, and commemorative events including wakes will be able to take place with up to 15 attendees (in premises that are permitted to open).
The Government is also publishing today an update on the 4 reviews established in the roadmap to determine what measures may be necessary from summer onwards.
A COVID-status certification system will be developed over the coming months which could allow higher-risk settings to be opened up more safely and with more participants. Over the coming months, a system will be developed which will take into account three factors: vaccination, a recent negative test, or natural immunity (determined on the basis of a positive test taken in the previous six months).
Events pilots will take place from mid-April to trial the system. All pilots are checking COVID status, initially this will be through testing alone but in later pilots vaccination and acquired immunity are expected to be alternative ways to demonstrate status.