Face coverings and exemptions cards

Face coverings are mandatory on our trains and at our stations, unless you are exempt. Unless you’ve a legitimate reason not to, you could receive a fine up to £6,400 (the maximum possible fine for repeat offenders).

The following is a non-exhaustive list of conditions which might mean someone is exempt or does not have to wear a face covering:

  • Children aged under 11
  • Breathing difficulties, eg. asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • Conditions affecting dexterity and the ability to use your hands
  • Mental health conditions, including anxiety or panic disorder
  • Autism
  • Dementia
  • Visual impairments or people with a restricted field of vision
  • Anyone reliant on lip reading, including companions or carers where a face covering would prevent communication
  • People needing to take medication whilst travelling, they are permitted to remove their face covering to do

View a full list of exemptions on the government website.

Supporting customers who are exempt

We recognise that some of our passengers who are exempt from wearing a face covering may feel uncomfortable while travelling.

To help with this, we encourage any passenger to use one of following tools or schemes in relation to their exempt status.

The following are not a prerequisite for travel, but it may give the wearer confidence if they are approached and challenged. Our staff are briefed on these and the detailed exemption criteria.

Sunflower lanyard or card scheme

The sunflower lanyard is recognised across the transport sector as a discreet way to indicate the wearer may have additional needs that are hidden or not immediately visible.

Customers can collect a sunflower lanyard free of charge at many larger stations on the railway network. Please ask a member of station staff for more details or see the Hidden Disabilities site for more information.

Other recognised schemes

Passengers who do not wish to wear a lanyard but would like another way to discreetly indicate their condition if asked, can:

  • Carry a JAM card – this stands for ‘Just A Minute’ and is used by many people with autism and communication barriers
  • Carry a Passenger Support Card – available here
  • Carry a government official exemption card or badge – available here

We ask our passengers to be considerate when travelling with someone who is not wearing a face covering. Please note that some railway staff, particularly those isolated from others such as train drivers, may also be exempt.