LA Metro is revising its policy and will require all riders on buses and trains to wear face coverings to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus beginning May 11.
In a statement, Metro said they will consider the best way to enforce this rule to an extent that is practical.
“Metro will be looking at ways the agency can help riders obtain face coverings while protecting our own supply of coverings that are needed for our employees,” Metro said in the statement. “Metro will also commence an educational campaign to inform the public of the requirement to wear face coverings in public and on our system.”
Metro began recommending that riders wear face coverings in April, but didn’t make it a requirement due to concerns involving enforcement and potential breathing difficulties for people with other underlying health conditions.
“We don’t want to put our bus operators in harm’s way. Nor we want to put our law enforcement officers in an untenable position where confrontations with riders escalate as we’ve seen happen in other cities,” Metro said. “There are also civil liberties issues. All these are reasons why we’ve been recommending but not requiring face coverings.”
Metro took this into consideration when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began recommending face coverings as a way to slow the spread of the virus.
This comes after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that California would reopen the state as early as May 8. In response, Metro is preparing to restore bus and rail services that have been reduced due to the pandemic according to the statement.
In mid-March, Metro mandated all bus operators to use plexiglass shields that seal the driving area and implemented rear door boarding on all bus operations.
“We want transit to be as safe as possible, and we want our riders and employees to feel safe,” Metro said. “We want our bus operators to know that we are listening to them.”
Metro has nearly 11,000 employees. According to the Metro website, 58 Metro employees or contractors have tested positive for COVID-19, including 16 bus operators. The agency said it is providing its employees with personal protective equipment.
“To date, we have supplied employees with over 715,000 pairs of gloves, more than 385,000 masks and over 40,000 personal hand sanitizers,” Metro said.
There are no plans for Metro to cease transportations, however; Metro encourages riders to limit travel to only essential trips and continue to maintain physical distance.
For more information on Metro’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit https://thesource.metro.net/2020/03/17/metro-update-on-covid-19/