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Railtours and Face Masks

John Luxton

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What is the situation if one has booked a rail tour predominantly operating in England (non stop section in Wales) post July 19th expecting it to be a restriction free environment and on receiving the tickets are then given a long list of Covid rules including wearing facemasks on stations and when moving around on train.

It should be said that no indication of these rules were given at the time of booking.

Basically where does one stand?

Can they be enforced when if on an ordinary train they could not be.
 
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Iskra

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Covid enforcement on railtours throughout the pandemic and recently has been nothing more than the odd request on the PA in my experience. I wouldn't worry at all.

The more recent request to 'wear a mask when boarding and moving around the train', has been ignored by most passengers.
 

nedchester

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I assume this is about the Wirral Squirrel train this weekend. Basically it’s unenforceable.

I did the 50s to Stranraer a few weeks back and the mask wearing on the train didn’t change when moving from England to Scotland and back.
 

John Luxton

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I assume this is about the Wirral Squirrel train this weekend. Basically it’s unenforceable.

I did the 50s to Stranraer a few weeks back and the mask wearing on the train didn’t change when moving from England to Scotland and back.

Thanks!
 

Dai Corner

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I'd say the railtour operator can enforce any rules they like provided they are at least as stringent as the law requires and don't discriminate on the basis of a protected characteristic under equality legislation.

Apparently they have given refunds on the grounds of this train not having the advertised motive power and not covering the whole of the advertised route. Whether anyone's decided not to travel because of the masks or lack of real ale on board and successfully claimed a refund I don't know.
 

richa2002

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I say it'd be a brave operator to enforce these rule in person now. A lot of this is about looks and not substance. I'm sure it'll be fine.
 

John Luxton

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I'd say the railtour operator can enforce any rules they like provided they are at least as stringent as the law requires and don't discriminate on the basis of a protected characteristic under equality legislation.

Apparently they have given refunds on the grounds of this train not having the advertised motive power and not covering the whole of the advertised route. Whether anyone's decided not to travel because of the masks or lack of real ale on board and successfully claimed a refund I don't know.
For me a train (or ship) could be propelled by "Shank's Pony" for all I care never been a motive power / propulsion obsessive. If it moves its fine! :D

Bit peeved over itinerary change but could even live with that. Though as I was due to join / leave at Lime Street I decided I would return to Crewe and catch a service train home despite it adding to the cost to make up for some of the lost mileage.

BUT was seeing a list of C19 rules / requests / demands which made me see red just when I thought train travel in England was getting back to normal.

Having spent a couple of days wandering around Cornwall on Ranger Tickets a couple of weeks back - masks were definitely the exception rather than the rule not only amongst passengers but also staff including the conductor - guards.
 

Master Cutler

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My wife and I did the Shakespear Holyhead Stratford on Avon tour on 1st September and there was a polite request for everyone to wear masks when moving about the train.
There was no mention of masks when on the station.
We got on at Bangor and were asked to wear a mask while boarding the train and getting to our seat.
 

dk1

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You are asked to wear face coverings when walking through the train to the toilets/buffet but I’ve found that as the day goes on & more alcohol is consumed it all becomes very hit & miss.
 

John Luxton

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You are asked to wear face coverings when walking through the train to the toilets/buffet but I’ve found that as the day goes on & more alcohol is consumed it all becomes very hit & miss.
The tour in question is officially dry despite suggestions on booking of real ale availability - and none must be brought on board.
 

dk1

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The tour in question is officially dry despite suggestions on booking of real ale availability - and none must be brought on board.
Oh my goodness. Don’t think I could handle that. It’s all part of a railtour.
 

John Luxton

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Oh my goodness. Don’t think I could handle that. It’s all part of a railtour.
It remains a mystery after suggesting their might be real ale available to with out notice making it dry. To be honest other recent rail tours I have done have not had a bar as they have been in EMU stock or on trams. I like real ale and it is an added attraction - but not compulsory!
 

greyman42

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Just say the tour operator wanted to enforce mask wearing, how are they going to do it? Have someone walk up and down the train for the entire length of the tour telling people to put on their non existent masks while the majority of passengers ignore them? It is unenforceable.
 

Richard Scott

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Did two tours in September and despite one having an A4 list of restrictions non were enforced and almost no-one wore a mask at any time.
 

yorkie

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I'd say the railtour operator can enforce any rules they like...
In theory but anyone can self-exempt themselves in Wales & Scotland, and in England no-one is going to be told to wear a mask on a railtour.

I've done a couple of railtours and the Scarborough Spa Express this Summer just gone and virtually no-one was wearing masks.

Just say the tour operator wanted to enforce mask wearing, how are they going to do it? Have someone walk up and down the train for the entire length of the tour telling people to put on their non existent masks while the majority of passengers ignore them? It is unenforceable.
All they could do (in Scotland/Wales) is ask if people are exempt; if they say yes, that's the end of the matter. Anyone wearing a sunflower lanyard should not be asked.

The tour in question is officially dry despite suggestions on booking of real ale availability - and none must be brought on board.
I'm not a big drinker by any means (I have an alcohol intolerance so I couldn't be) but I'd not be booking under such circumstances. If imposed after booking I would be obtaining a refund.

My wife and I did the Shakespear Holyhead Stratford on Avon tour on 1st September and there was a polite request for everyone to wear masks when moving about the train.
Only as far as the Welsh border, I'd hope. There should be no such request once in England

Can they be enforced when if on an ordinary train they could not be.
They absolutely cannot be enforced.
 

35B

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They absolutely cannot be enforced.
...except under the operator's conditions of carriage and the legal position that follows should someone breach those. Which, as we're talking in the context of a railtour, is the same position as would apply to requirements some operators impose not to loiter in vestibules or to go near open windows.
 

yorkie

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...except under the operator's conditions of carriage and the legal position that follows should someone breach those.
We've been through this before. Any such condition is not legally enforceable because anyone can self-exempt for a variety of reasons; all anyone has to say is "I'm exempt" and there is no practical alternative but for the operator to accept that.

Such a condition is unenforceable, as we see on TfL, where mask wearing is around 50:50 at best.

You are talking about theoretical positions, as no operator is going to attempt to enforce mask wearing where it is not legally mandated and no operator is going to try to "enforce" it even if they theoretically could.


Which, as we're talking in the context of a railtour, is the same position as would apply to requirements some operators impose not to loiter in vestibules or to go near open windows.
Which tend not to be enforced in my experience but loitering is different to simply being a normal human being and not masking yourself up; it's another false equivalence.
 

Dent

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...except under the operator's conditions of carriage and the legal position that follows should someone breach those. Which, as we're talking in the context of a railtour, is the same position as would apply to requirements some operators impose not to loiter in vestibules or to go near open windows.

If it was not on the terms which are agreed when the ticket was booked then the operator had no basis to impose new conditions. Unilaterally changing the terms after the contract has been entered into is breaking the contract.
 

dk1

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If it was not on the terms which are agreed when the ticket was booked then the operator had no basis to impose new conditions. Unilaterally changing the terms after the contract has been entered into is breaking the contract.
The recent tours I have booked have simply advised that customers will need to follow the rules that are in force on the day of their railtour. That’s fair enough.
 

Dent

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The recent tours I have booked have simply advised that customers will need to follow the rules that are in force on the day of their railtour. That’s fair enough.
That sounds rather open to abuse by the operator. I hope it included an option to cancel with a full refund if the rules on the day were unacceptable.
 

dk1

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That sounds rather open to abuse by the operator. I hope it included an option to cancel with a full refund if the rules on the day were unacceptable.
I just go along with whatever the latest guidance is. As said before it tends to get a little lapse as the day goes on & the drinks flow. I’m sure they’d be sympathetic to those who find it unacceptable.
 

35B

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We've been through this before. Any such condition is not legally enforceable because anyone can self-exempt for a variety of reasons; all anyone has to say is "I'm exempt" and there is no practical alternative but for the operator to accept that.

Such a condition is unenforceable, as we see on TfL, where mask wearing is around 50:50 at best.

You are talking about theoretical positions, as no operator is going to attempt to enforce mask wearing where it is not legally mandated and no operator is going to try to "enforce" it even if they theoretically could.



Which tend not to be enforced in my experience but loitering is different to simply being a normal human being and not masking yourself up; it's another false equivalence.
Not a false equivalence at all, but a statement of the legal as opposed to practical position.
 

yorkie

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Not a false equivalence at all, but a statement of the legal as opposed to practical position.
If people aren't exempt from being required not to loiter, and anyone loitering could simply say 'I am exempt' and be allowed to continue loitering, then it is a false equivalence.

That sounds rather open to abuse by the operator. I hope it included an option to cancel with a full refund if the rules on the day were unacceptable.
I agree, though given anyone can self-certify an exemption for a wide variety of reasons it is a moot point.
 

35B

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If people aren't exempt from being required not to loiter, and anyone loitering could simply say 'I am exempt' and be allowed to continue loitering, then it is a false equivalence.


I agree, though given anyone can self-certify an exemption for a wide variety of reasons it is a moot point.
You rather presume exemption has a legal rather than just practical status, though. I have asked, to which I have had no answer, what legal basis exemption has had under English law since July 19th. The silence is deafening.
 

yorkie

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You rather presume exemption has a legal rather than just practical status, though. I have asked, to which I have had no answer, what legal basis exemption has had under English law since July 19th. The silence is deafening.
We're back round to where we were before in other threads; everyone is now legally exempt. I don't see any point in having the same discussion again.

Your position is entirely theoretical; in practice no-one is going to be forced to wear a face covering. I am aware this upsets authoritarians, which makes it all the better as far as I'm concerned.

It's over!
 
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35B

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We're back round to where we were before in other threads; everyone is now legally exempt. I don't see any point in having the same discussion again.

Your position is entirely theoretical; in practice no-one is going to be forced to wear a face covering. I am aware this upsets authoritarians, which makes it all the better as far as I'm concerned.

It's over!
A very strange definition of "exempt" indeed.
 

yorkie

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Argue over semantics all you want, the practicalities don't change.

The point is no-one can be made to wear a mask in England any more; all anyone has to say is "I'm exempt" and that will be the end of the matter; anyone can self-certify an exemption and since masks ceased to be mandated, no-one is legally required to wear one.

This idea that some businesses are going to somehow be able to 'enforce' masks as a condition just isn't realistic. TfL's attempts to get legal backing for their ludicrous stance failed and backfired on them; mask usage on the tube is around 50% at best (though very variable depending on location, time of day, etc).
 

35B

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Argue over semantics all you want, the practicalities don't change.

The point is no-one can be made to wear a mask in England any more; all anyone has to say is "I'm exempt" and that will be the end of the matter; anyone can self-certify an exemption and since masks ceased to be mandated, no-one is legally required to wear one.

This idea that some businesses are going to somehow be able to 'enforce' masks as a condition just isn't realistic. TfL's attempts to get legal backing for their ludicrous stance failed and backfired on them; mask usage on the tube is around 50% at best (though very variable depending on location, time of day, etc).
And on the practical level, I largely agree. This is an area where custom and practice predominate, and that is welcome. It is the legal level that I assert that the role of "exemption" is a red herring, and is potentially misleading, for the reasons I've stated before - the legal concept of exemption was abolished in England at the same time as the requirement to wear masks.

Where I choose not to wear a mask, I do so based on the principle that the law does not require me to wear one, and I am exercising my choice as to whether to do so. I pay heed to the requests of venue (including railtour) operators, and allow that to inform my choice - and I write this in full awareness that my tolerance of mask wearing distinguishes me from you and many others on this sub-forum.

On TfL, on which I use contactless so the technicalities of which conditions of carriage are applicable don't apply, I abide by the contract on which TfL operate their services. That contract recognises the concept of exemption, and if I were entitled to exemption, I would make the claim under contract, not under legislation.

I dig in on the semantics because semantics matter. Covid has been subject to a lot of myth making and lies, from partisans of all kinds. That has not helped in a difficult situation, where many factors are subject to reasonable if heated debate. The law changed so that it is no longer legally required to wear a mask. "You do not have to..." is a different statement from "You are no longer required to..." - and it is the latter which is now the legal position in England.

In that context, the use of accurate terminology matters. It should be enough to accept that masks are no longer legally required. Extrapolating beyond that to come up with some weird concept of exemption adds confusion, distracts from what has changed, and leads to confusion about what it means.
 

43066

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In that context, the use of accurate terminology matters. It should be enough to accept that masks are no longer legally required. Extrapolating beyond that to come up with some weird concept of exemption adds confusion, distracts from what has changed, and leads to confusion about what it means.

Even when masks were mandatory in most indoor settings, I suppose there was nothing to stop businesses imposing mask requirements over and above the legal minimum, and only recognising exemptions for reasons that would also have been caught by the Equalities Act. However very few businesses did this to my knowledge (starcross ferry?!) and most of those will have relaxed their own restrictions.

I suspect those few businesses carrying the practice on will continue to recognise exemptions in the same way as TfL are. I can’t really imagine there are many businesses at all which have made their own requirements stricter as the legal mandation has been rolled back.

I share @yorkie ’s view that continuing with mask mandates is inappropriate, immoral and likely illegal in many cases and those few business continuing with mandates fully deserve to go bust in my view. TfL is a case in point and is only doing it because the idiot mayor is more interesting in making a political statement than getting people back onto public transport, despite the parlours state of its finances.
 

35B

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Even when masks were mandatory in most indoor settings, I suppose there was nothing to stop businesses imposing mask requirements over and above the legal minimum, and only recognising exemptions for reasons that would also have been caught by the Equalities Act. However very few businesses did this to my knowledge (starcross ferry?!) and most of those will have relaxed their own restrictions.

I suspect those few businesses carrying the practice on will continue to recognise exemptions in the same way as TfL are. I can’t really imagine there are many businesses at all which have made their own requirements stricter as the legal mandation has been rolled back.

I share @yorkie ’s view that continuing with mask mandates is inappropriate, immoral and likely illegal in many cases and those few business continuing with mandates fully deserve to go bust in my view. TfL is a case in point and is only doing it because the idiot mayor is more interesting in making a political statement than getting people back onto public transport, despite the parlours state of its finances.
Based on my limited travel to London, I suspect the TfL mask mandate has less to do with continued reduced travel than wider social impacts. When I was there last week, I saw many posters pushing leisure travel

As for the core of my argument, thank you for acknowledging the distinction I've been trying to draw out about the role of law, and especially that firms can go beyond the minimum standards in the law. The wisdom of doing so is of course a different debate.
 

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