Manchester United fans risk missing Palace tie if mask rules are ignored

Football fans travelling via tram to Old Trafford tomorrow must wear a face mask or risk not making it to the match.

Transport bosses have warned that – unless legally exempt – travellers must wear face coverings on Metrolink trams.

Anyone caught flouting the law will not be allowed to travel and could also be fined up to £200 for a first offence.

Packed trams are expected, especially on the Altrincham line, as supporters pour into the city ahead of the Man United – Crystal Palace Premier League match at 2 pm on Sunday (5th December).

Under recently reintroduced measures in England, children aged under 11 and anyone with a health condition or disability which prevents them from wearing a face covering are exempt from wearing masks on public transport.

Recent compliance with wearing face masks has been ‘generally good’ but varied across Manchester’s tram network, with around 70 to 90 per cent compliance according to Transport for Greater Manchester’s own survey.

Manchester’s TravelSafe Partnership – jointly led by TfGM and Greater Manchester Police’s Transport Unit – has been handing out thousands of free masks to customers as part of a drive to educate passengers and encourage mask-wearing.

The legal requirement to wear a face covering in shops, in transport hubs and on public transport was reintroduced in England from 30th November this year. Currently, masks are not legally required in sports stadiums.

Although latest official figures showed an overall fall in the number of Covid cases in Manchester, health chiefs are worried that the new Omicron ‘variant of concern’ may have already reached the area.

TfGM’s head of operations, Alex Cropper, said: “To help keep our passengers and staff safe, the wearing of face coverings has continued to be a requirement – unless exempt – for those using the Metrolink network, bus stations and interchanges since the summer.

“As of part of the latest government measures to slow the spread of the Omicron variant in the UK, you must, by law, now wear a face covering on all public transport.

“Police officers and transport staff will continue to patrol our networks, and while we will continue to adopt this approach, those refusing to comply could be prevented from using a service or issued with a fine.

“For everyone’s safety and wellbeing, we’d encourage all passengers to be considerate of one another and wear a face covering, unless exempt.”

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