New York City began Phase 1 of its reopening on June 8 and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) have reminded travelers to wear masks or face coverings.
MTA surveyed mask usage and found that approximately 92% of subway riders are complying with the MTA’s requirement that all customers and employees wear a face covering on public transit.
Between Thursday, May 28 and Thursday, June 4, MTA personnel visited 23 different stations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx that were found to have relatively high ridership. Out of the 47,599 riders that were counted, 43,709 were wearing masks. Public health experts say to have useful impact compliance needs to be at least 70% and they recommend for essential protection it be above 95%. MTA says research has found that wearing a face covering can reduce the rate of COVID-19 transmission significantly, and WHO recently updated its guidance on face coverings to recommend their use in public places in all countries where there is a high rate of transmission.
“I want to thank the 92% of our riders who are wearing masks while riding public transit, said New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg. “The goal is to see 100% of our customers wearing face coverings. It is the single most important thing that riders can do to protect themselves, their fellow commuters and our employees.”
“We have seen substantial compliance with our subway and bus customers wearing a mask and we want to get 100% compliance systemwide – it protects you, it protects those around you and it helps us crush the curve,” said Pat Warren, MTA Chief Safety Officer. “We will be distributing more than 2 million masks this week to customers who need them, will have hand sanitizer across our system and new signs to help New Yorkers spread out. Everyone is required to wear a mask when riding with us – it’s a sign of respect for everyone.”
In the coming days, MTA personnel and volunteers will be out in the system, offering riders a mask if they have not brought one. Masks are also for sale at retail locations at surrounding subway and bus stations and stops.
PANYNJ’s airports, bridges, tunnels, and terminals, PATH system, seaports, and World Trade Center transportation hub also remain open and operational, and the agency reminds the traveling public that face coverings are required in its facilities.
Travelers are of course also reminded to follow all public health guidance, including washing hands, not touching faces and coughing into elbows.