Face Masks to Be Required on Reykjavík Public Transport Skip to content
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Photo: Strætó bs.

Face Masks to Be Required on Reykjavík Public Transport

Icelandic authorities announced a tightening of COVID-19 restrictions that takes effect tomorrow at noon. Two-metre social distancing will once again become mandatory and the gathering ban will be tightened from 500 to 100. In locations where distancing cannot be ensured, use of face masks will be required. This includes domestic flights, in businesses such as hair salons, and on public transportation.

This is the first time that Icelandic authorities recommend or oblige the use of face masks by the public since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Iceland’s Chief Epidemiologist Þórólfur Guðnason had previously stated masks were unnecessary in Iceland, and that their use could even give a false sense of security. He instead emphasises the importance of regular handwashing, use of hand sanitiser, and other preventative measures such as social distancing.

Drivers May Refuse Service to Those Without Mask

Reykjavík’s public bus service Strætó transports around 20,000-30,000 passengers per day. Jóhannes Rúnarsson, the company’s CEO, told RÚV drivers will have the right to refuse service to passengers without a mask. Drivers themselves will wear face masks on the job and plexiglass barriers will be set up on buses for their protection. Public transport users will be required to provide their own face mask; Strætó does not have plans of providing them.

Strætó took up protective measures earlier this year, limiting passenger numbers, obliging travellers to enter via the back door and cordoning off the passenger area from the driver. Those measures were relaxed on June 7.

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