Face masks mandatory in public transport. What is allowed and what is not?


From Monday 1 June, wearing a face mask is mandatory in public transport. This rule will undoubtedly have reached almost all of the Netherlands. But can you eat something on the way? Does the duty also apply to children? And are you obliged to take a seat next to the window? There is much less clarity about these questions. Therefore Treinre traveler.nl has listed a number of questions and answers.

Are children obliged to wear a face mask on public transport?

No. Children up to the age of 12 do not have to wear a mask. RIVM assumes that children transmit the coronavirus to others to a lesser extent, and that they also become infected much less quickly. Everyone over the age of 13 is obliged to wear a face mask.

Can I eat and drink something on the way?

The rules seem clear at first glance. A face mask is mandatory. Point. And those who do not wear it can be fined 95 euros. However, the rules appear to be less strict than they appear at first sight. Because when asked if the answer can be taken off for something to eat and drink, Rijksoverheid.nl answers: “Put the mouth mask on and off as little as possible”.

Is the mask also mandatory at stations?

No. At stations it is mandatory to keep 1.5 meters away.

When should I put on the mask?

Although face masks are not mandatory at stations, they are required in the train. To make boarding and alighting quick, the basic principle is to put the mask on the platform already, and do not remove the mask until you have alighted.

Can I use one mask for all day?

The intention is one face mask per trip. If you are traveling back and forth one day, you should use a new or washed face mask for both trips.

Can I get a fine if I use a medical mask?

No, not that. In general, extraordinary investigating officers (BOA) will not be able to recognize a medical mask directly. The cabinet calls us to our own responsibility not to buy medical masks and to keep them available for medical personnel.

Do I have to sit next to the window on the train or bus?

The starting point in public transport is to use the seats. Pedro Peters, foreman of the association of Dutch public transport companies, explains that this is a guideline, not an obligation. “The green stickers are tools. They are not commandments or prohibition signs, ”explains Peters in the NOS program The coronavirus: facts and fables. So the advice is to only sit next to the window, but if there is a good reason not to do that, then you may.

Can I use a sock or a scarf as a mask?

That question was also answered at the NOS by Pedro Peters. He states that a sock or scarf is not enough. The national government has prepared an example instruction for those who want to make their own face masks.

Where can I buy mouth masks?

In many places. For example on various websites, in supermarkets and at drugstores. You can even buy them at some stations, but not at all stations. Treinre traveler.nl also has a number of advertisers who sell mouth masks: HEMA and Care Delta. See also: Where do I buy mouth masks for public transport?

Who decides if my trip is necessary?

As a traveler you decide that yourself. NS has also slightly adjusted its communication. The company is no longer talking about necessary travel, but calls for only using the train when it is really necessary.

How useful is a mouth mask?

There is a different opinion about this. RIVM has always maintained that mouth masks have only a very limited effect. On the face mask obligation, the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) has therefore “not given any positive advice for the use of mouth masks”, quotes De Limburger RIVM foreman Van Dissel. However, no negative advice has been given either. However, the discussion seems to be mainly in the Netherlands, and to a much lesser extent in the countries around us. There, mouth masks are generally perceived as useful.

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