The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today launched a new “Keep them Covered” public awareness campaign on the heels of New York State’s Executive Order requiring all New Yorkers to wear a face covering while riding public transportation. Face coverings protecting New Yorkers’ nose and mouth, including cloth bandanas, scarves, masks or other alternatives, were mandatory effective April 17, 2020 at 08:00 p.m. in order to ride public transportation.
The new campaign includes digital signage across more than 7,000 digital screens, audio announcements in stations and on trains, and more than 7,000 printed signs for buses and paratransit vehicles. The digital signage appears on more than 4,000 screens across the NYC Subway, 2,600 screens on buses, and 550 screens on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad. The audio announcements instruct customers – healthcare workers, first responders and other essential personnel – making their way throughout the system to wear a face covering as the MTA has observed the majority of its customers already doing.
“This executive order follows our efforts, leading the country, to keep our customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Patrick Warren, MTA Chief Safety Officer. “Wearing the face covering is critical to protecting public health and could ultimately save lives.”
The MTA has been a national leader among transportation agencies in taking aggressive action to battle the COVID-19 pandemic since the early days of its arrival in New York. In order to protect employees, the MTA disregarded federal guidance and began handing out masks to all employees before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later issued new guidance recommending all Americans wear masks. The MTA has also strongly recommended all riders wear a face covering since March 02, 2020, well in advance of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issuing guidelines for all Americans to wear masks.
The MTA reminds customers that public transportation is to be used for essential travel only. All other New Yorkers should stay home.