MTA Chairman: Riders Without Masks 'Not Welcome' On Public Transit

New York City subway
Photo credit Photo by David Dee Delgado/Getty Images
By WCBS Newsradio 880

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The MTA is not messing around when it comes to masks on mass transit. 

In an interview Monday with WCBS 880, MTA Chairman and CEO Pat Foye told anchor Kevin Rincon that masks are key to keeping both commuters and public transit employees safe. 

"Those who are do not have masks are, frankly, not welcome on public transit. Just plain and simple," Foye said. "Public health experts agree universally that wearing a mask is the single best thing that we can all do to limit the spread of the virus. It protects the wearer, it protects co-commuters and also our employees. If you're not wearing a mask, we ask that you stay off the subway, buses and avoid the railroads. Masks are mandatory on transit, no exception, as a result, Governor Cuomo's executive order. It's the law of the state of New York, and you may be asked to leave the system if you refuse to wear a mask."

Foye said the MTA has conducted physical counts  and found that more than 90% of subway and bus riders are wearing masks, but officials want to drive that number higher.

"As part of that, we've distributed or are distributing 4 million masks donated by the state and the city at all subway stations for riders who may have left theirs at home," Foye said. "We've also begun installing mask dispensers on some buses and personal protective equipment vending machines in certain stations."

The MTA also has hundreds of volunteers handing out face coverings to riders across the system.

Asked about attacks on MTA employees, who have been targeted for asking people to put on masks, Foye said, "Attacks on transit workers are abhorrent. They're also a felony with a penalty of years in imprisonment. We're going to do everything we can to protect our employees."

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