Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has said remembering face coverings should become part of daily routine as they become mandatory on public transport in England from next week.
Anybody taking a bus, train or Tube from Monday can be refused travel if they are not covering their nose and mouth.
Other indoor close-contact spaces such as shops will not require the masks.
Speaking at the daily Downing Street briefing on Friday, Mr Shapps said: “Remembering your face covering should be the same as picking up your phone, your wallet or your purse whenever you’re leaving your house.”
When questioned on why the masks are only needed on transport and not other spaces, Mr Shapps said: “By its very nature if you are on a train or a plane or a ferry or a bus you are in an enclosed area.
“That is not the case if you are out and about on the streets.
“And I think that may be the principal difference of this.”
From Monday, face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England.— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) June 12, 2020
You can help protect others by wearing one wherever you might be in an enclosed public space. pic.twitter.com/Cq7tyubC6t
One of the country’s top transport bosses said he is confident people will abide by the rules.
Network Rail chairman Sir Peter Hendy said: “The reality of our transport systems and particularly as the economy ramps up is that there will be more occasions at which you might be closer to people than you would care for.
“So it seems perfectly logical to me and all my colleagues and transport operators to mandate face coverings now, because as we get to Monday and the restart of non-essential retail and looking at more people going to work it is much more likely that you’ll see, or be close to, other people.”