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Taxi safety in Pendle - passengers may have to wear face masks

Published: Wednesday, 20th May 2020

People in Pendle may be asked to wear face masks or face coverings when travelling in Pendle taxis.

Councillor Mohammed Iqbal, Leader of Pendle Council said:

“We’re following the latest government guidelines which advises taxi passengers to wear face coverings where social distancing of two metres isn’t possible.

“We have contacted all taxi operators in Pendle to ask them to carefully consider the recent updates on taxi travel, to make it as safe as possible for both passengers and drivers,” he explained.

Safety measures taxi drivers can adopt to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus include:

•    Having just individual passengers in the back left-hand seat for vehicles that are not big enough for a two metre separation between driver and passenger

•    Reducing occupancy in larger taxis to help keep a safe distance. 

Philip Mousdale, Pendle Council’s Corporate Director, said:

“Taxi drivers who decide to only carry passengers who are wearing face masks need to make that clear before accepting bookings.

“Wearing a face covering is not required by law, but masks may protect others if people are infected but have not yet developed symptoms.,” he explained.

 “Anyone using a face mask needs to wash hands thoroughly, following the government’s 20 second rule,  before putting them on and after taking them off,” he said.

Taxis and private hire vehicles can still be used to transport patients in and out of hospital unless:

•    A passenger has symptoms of COVID-19 - a new, continuous cough or a high temperature

•    Anyone in a household is self-isolating due to experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.

And Taxi drivers can still transport workers to and from hospital, too.

“Taxi drivers can support passengers with accessibility issues and are still under the same obligation to provide reasonable assistance and make reasonable adjustments for disabled passengers,” said Councillor Iqbal. 

  “We know this is a very tough time for our taxi drivers,” added Dean Langton,  Pendle Council’s Chief Executive.

 “That’s why we have also contacted them to remind them of the government’s Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

“Taxi and private hire vehicle drivers can claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading profits up to a maximum of £2,500 per month for the next 3 months.

“And we will let taxi drivers and taxi firms know if the government extends this period,” he stated.

The government’s communication to taxi drivers explains that:
‘A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by
healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. 

These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in
their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings,
like those exposed to dust hazards.’