Weekly Poll Results – COVID-19: Face Coverings (Week Beginning 8 June 2020)

Each week Disability Equality Scotland send out a poll question to our members on a topical issue.  For the week beginning 8 June, we asked a question about face coverings on public transport.


If a face covering were to be mandatory on public transport, would you wear one?


Yes – 99% (762 respondents) No –  1% (6 respondents)


The following is a summary of the main themes and key concerns of our members regarding face coverings on public transport. We provide verbatim comments where appropriate to illustrate strength of feeling or personal experience.

Support Face Coverings Becoming Mandatory

The vast majority of respondents are supportive of face coverings on public transport. It is widely accepted that as more people start to use public transport, face coverings will act as an extra precaution alongside existing measures to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“It should already be mandatory”

“If it helps save lives, why would you not do it”

“I would feel a lot better about using public transport if everyone had to wear a face covering of some kind.”

“I have been wearing them with my kids and they see it as a bit of fun which takes away any fear factor.”

“I think this would be a positive move and I would feel better using public transport if people wore face coverings.”

“I feel that if it’s not made mandatory, then all of the service users as well as drivers are put at risk.”

“I think this is overdue and needed as passenger numbers increase.”

“More comfortable and confident with it being mandatory. Feel safer from infection spreading.”

“I get nervous when other people are not wearing face coverings on the bus so this would help as it would mean everyone would be protecting each other. It would also make sure we protect the bus driver as an essential worker.”

Health and Public Reaction            

Some concerns are raised from people with certain medical conditions which would make it difficult to wear a mask. There are also comments about public reaction if someone is not wearing a mask, which could be for legitimate medical reasons.

“Arms and hands don’t go up to face (spinal problem], ergo unable to get on or off. Someone else could do it, but I would panic if I couldn’t get it off.”

“I’ve got breathing problems and to have anything cover my face is hard.”
“I personally would wear one but I would be concerned about people challenging others who may not be wearing a mask for valid medical reasons.”

“I suspect there would be an increase in aggression from the general public towards people who are not wearing face coverings for potentially valid reasons.”

“I have COPD and difficulty breathing so face masks don’t work for me, but I pull up my scarf over my nose and mouth when I’m out. The fit to face isn’t so tight but it does the job and doesn’t panic my briefing.”

Hearing Impairments

Face coverings present significant challenges to people with hearing impairments who rely on non-verbal cues, facial expressions and lip reading to communicate. There are face masks that have been developed with clear windows over the mouth to help lip readers communicate with others.

“I would like to see more clear and transparent face coverings used by all service workers to enable those of us who need to lip read to be able to do so. Also others with other impairments need to be able to read people’s faces and cannot do this when a person’s face is totally obscure by material but, as usual in this country, the needs of us disabled people always comes last.”


Some respondents were concerned by the affordability of face coverings, whilst others suggested that they should be distributed for free by transport providers.

“Masks or coverings need to be made affordable for everyone.”

“Transport operators should provide face masks or coverings initially to get people into the habit of wearing them and staff should wear them too as this will make passengers more likely to wear them.”