April 18, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The MTA has launched a new campaign to remind riders that masks are required to be worn by law while using its services.
The agency started rolling out the “Keep them Covered” campaign Saturday and signage is going up at MTA stations and on trains telling straphangers to cover their mouth and nose with a mask or cloth in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.
The move follows an order by Governor Andrew Cuomo that mandates all New Yorkers wear a mask if they are unable to keep six feet away from others in a public setting or while using public transport. The new rule went into effect on Friday, April 17, at 8:00 p.m.
The MTA said its new yellow and white-colored signage will be displayed on 7,000 digital screens across all of its stations and inside all service vehicles. Printed posters are going up inside its buses and paratransit vehicles.
Some of the signs include instructions reading, “Cover your nose and mouth with a mask or cloth when you ride” and “Wear a mask or a cloth covering to keep our drivers and customers”.
Audio announcements will also be broadcast at MTA stations and inside vehicles reminding straphangers of the importance of adhering to the new rule.
MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren said it is crucial that all riders abide by the new rules.
“Wearing the face covering is critical to protecting public health and could ultimately save lives,” Warren said in a statement Saturday.
“This executive order follows our efforts, leading the country, to keep our customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.
The MTA has been advising its customers to wear a face-covering since March 2 and providing its workers with masks.
The agency has been undertaking other COVID-19 mitigation efforts by increasing and enhancing sanitation protocols, eliminating cash transactions, and reduced its service schedule.
Public transportation should only be used for essential travel only and all other New Yorkers should stay at home, the agency said.