Downing Street exempts chauffeur-driven cars from new coronavirus restrictions

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives back at 10 Downing Street, Westminster, London

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives back at 10 Downing Street, Westminster, London - Credit: PA

Chauffeur-driven cars will be exempt from new laws forcing passengers to wear masks in taxis to slow the spread of coronavirus, Downing Street has said.

Boris Johnson announced that passengers in licensed vehicles would have to wear coverings under new restrictions in England aimed at preventing a resurgence of Covid-19.

But No 10 said the measure would not include passengers in chauffeur-driven cars, though the driver’s employer would have to ensure they could work safely.

The prime minister’s official spokesman said: “The employer of the chauffeur will have to make sure that their employees can work in a Covid-secure way.”

But pressed if chauffeurs are covered by the new law, the spokesman said: “The important point to make is the driver of a licensed vehicle will be picking up a wide variety of customers throughout the day but it’s important to protect the driver from being infected from a significant number of different people.

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“The scenario that you’re describing, that person would only be a single individual around so I don’t think they’re comparable.”

The spokesman said he would check whether the rule applies to ministers being driven around in ministerial cars.

Last week Downing Street was criticised for exempting grouse-shooting and hunting from the "rule of six" restrictions.

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