Taxi and private hire drivers in Dacorum can refuse to take any passenger who won’t wear a face covering or mask, without a valid exemption.

And they will be told to clean down their vehicles after every journey, according to new guidance drawn-up by council bosses.

The measures are contained in the new coronavirus advice that has been drawn up by licensing officers at Dacorum Borough Council.

And they were backed by a meeting of the council’s licensing and health and safety enforcement committee on Tuesday (July 21).

According to the report to the committee the taxi trade in the area is gradually returning to normal work patterns.

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And the advice has been drawn up in response to enquiries from drivers, seeking information on how they can minimise the risk of becoming infected with the virus or passing the virus on to others.

According to the guidance, drivers and passengers should wear a face covering at all times in a taxi or private hire vehicle (PHV) – with drivers carrying a pen and paper to communicate with passengers who read lips or who have a hearing impairment.

Where journeys are booked in advance, it says, passengers should be told they will have to wear a face covering, as a condition of the booking.

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And those who hail a taxi on the street without a face covering, it says, should be directed to a nearby retail outlet or transport hub where face covering can be obtained.

Where passengers do not wear a face covering drivers can refuse to take them.

The guidance states: “If a passenger is not wearing a face covering, then taxi and private hire drivers can refuse to carry them, taking into account any mitigating circumstances such as the age of the child.

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“The driver should explain to the passenger that they are required to wear a face covering while travelling in a taxi or PHV.”

The guidance does note that young children, those with respiratory conditions and some disabled people are among those generally exempt from wearing masks or face coverings.

Other exceptions, noted in the guidance, include those assisting passengers who rely on lip reading or those who are travelling to avoid injury or escape a risk of harm.

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Anyone booking a journey, suggests the guidance, should be asked to conform that they do not have coronavirus symptoms and told to travel alone or with people they live with.

And they will be advised that the vehicle will be well ventilated – either through the cars ventilation or by keeping widows open.

Meanwhile the guidance also suggests that vehicles should be “thoroughly” cleaned at the end of each shift.

But hard surfaces – such as door handles, window winders, seat belts, payment devices and the rear of the front seats – should be cleaned after each passenger journey.