MANY taxi drivers are wearing face masks and customers are being encouraged to follow suit. Bendigo Taxis manager Colin Wells supported the practice in his group's cars. "It's just impossible to social distance, so the recommendation is that a face mask be worn," he said. Masks and other face coverings are not mandatory outside Melbourne and Mitchell Shire's lockdown zone though. More news There are COVID-19 expectations on passengers, but they are no more intense than what is on the rest of Bendigo's community, Mr Wells said. "We just expect all our customers to follow the guidelines - that they cover their mouth when they cough, that they wear a mask if they can," Mr Wells said. He noted, though, that many of the cooperative's passengers use the service because they could not get a licence. "That's often because of physical inability, which sometimes is related to lung capacity. For someone with reduced lung capacity to put a mask on can be a huge impost because they can't breath," Mr Wells said. He urged people not to judge anyone they saw in a taxi who was not wearing a mask. "We can make all these judgements but there are some very valid reasons people are not wearing masks," he said. Some drivers have found they need to manage unanticipated challenges masks have thrown up. "The biggest aspect is, on a cold winter's morning, it's very difficult to stop your glasses fogging up when you put the mask on," Mr Wells said. "Some drivers are not wearing them simply because of that. Sometimes too, they will take their mask off to preserve its life while no-one is in the car. "Others have their masks on just while they are helping passengers in and out, because when they are driving they are obviously facing in the opposite direction." Mr Wells said that the safety of passengers was Bendigo Taxi's priority. "The vehicles are now disinfected between every fare - all the high touch points like door handles, radio knobs and EFTPOS equipment," he said. Have you signed up to the Bendigo Advertiser's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in central Victoria.