(CNN)Face coverings will be mandatory on all public transport in England starting June 15, as the country continues to ease out of coronavirus lockdown.
The rule could be enforced by British transport police, Britain's Transport Minister Grant Shapps said Thursday during a daily government briefing. Exceptions will be made for children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems.
Public transport will also be "ramped" up with additional trains, buses, and subways added to existing routes, in order to reduce crowding as people return to work.
"It's not always possible to stay two meters apart on public transport," Schapps acknowledged. Those who can work from home should continue to do so, he said.
Volunteers will hand out extra masks at public transport stations. Shapps said people who don't comply "could" be fined.
"You cannot travel if you are not wearing a face covering," he said.
There have been 176 new coronavirus-related deaths in the UK over the past 24 hours, bringing the official total to 39,728.