Metro Transit announced Friday that it will now ask passengers to wear face coverings on board its buses and trains starting on Monday, May 18.
"Based on public health guidance, Metro Transit began encouraging face coverings in early April," Metro Transit wrote in a statement posted to its website. "Since that time, face coverings have become a stronger point of emphasis among public health officials, and are expected to play an even larger role when restrictions on businesses and other gatherings loosen. The requirement will remain in place until further notice."
While the posted statement calls the policy a "requirement," in its post, Metro Transit also said passengers cannot be denied service if they are not wearing a face covering, nor will they be removed.
Cloth face coverings, such as masks, bandanas or scarves are recommended. Metro Transit said it is not able to provide face coverings to passengers who need them.
The new policy will be prominently featured at boarding locations and during on-board announcements. Exemptions will be made for children under 2, those who have trouble breathing, or those who are unable to remove their face covering without assistance.
"We also recognize that some customers may not have the ability to obtain a face covering," the statement said.
Similar face covering policies are also in place for Metro Transit employees.
"Operators and other Metro Transit staff are encouraged to wear face coverings when they cannot achieve social distancing," Metro Trainsit said. "Because rear-door boarding and barriers behind the driver’s area allow operators to achieve a level of social distancing, bus operators are not currently required to wear face coverings while operating a bus."