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MTA Holds 17th Mask Force to Promote COVID-19 Safety Against Omicron Variant

Updated January 25, 2022 7:30 p.m.
Mask Force 17

Mask Usage on Subways Increases to 95% 

See Photos of Today’s Mask Force Event 


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) held its 17th ‘Mask Force’ event today, with MTA leaders and volunteers distributing thousands of free masks throughout the transit system. Masks are still required onboard trains, buses, paratransit vehicles, and at indoor stations regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status. 

Since the last Mask Force event in December, mask usage on the subways has increased above 90% again, with the latest survey measuring current mask usage at 95%. Mask usage across all agencies remains above 90%. 

“I am beyond thankful for the hundreds of MTA employees and supporters who have volunteered since we started holding these events in July 2020,” said Sarah Meyer, MTA Chief Customer Officer. “Customers are listening to our message; mask compliance on the subway is above 90%, as is compliance across the MTA. There continues to be free masks available at subway station booths and on commuter railroad trains for anyone who needs one.” 

Since its inception, more than 1,340 New Yorkers have participated in the MTA Mask Force, handing out about 900,000 masks. Employees and volunteers wear bright yellow t-shirts and vests identifying them as part of the Mask Force team. To sign up to volunteer for the MTA Mask Force, visit new.mta.info/maskforce

Mask Force volunteers, MTA staff and elected officials today are at the following stations:   

  • 74 St-Roosevelt Av-Jackson Hts    
  • E 180 St 
  • Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr
  • Coney Island-Stillwell Av 
  • Grand Central Terminal 
  • Times Square-42 St 
  • 168 St 
  • St. George SIR 

The MTA has acquired for distribution to employees and customers 45.9 million masks to date. In addition to the 14.5 million masks available for customers, the Authority has also made available 750,000 2-oz bottles of hand sanitizer. Additionally, the Authority has distributed to its workforce 31.4 million masks, 33.5 million pairs of gloves, 156,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 317,000 7-oz and 2-oz bottles of hand sanitizer, 18.7 million individual sanitizing cleaning wipes, 407,000 gallons of cleaning solution and 24,000 face shields.     

The MTA first launched its Mask Force in July 2020 in order to supplement its existing distribution of masks in the transit system and acknowledge customers who are already compliant. Wearing a face covering on public transportation in New York was required by law under Executive Order 202.18. A $50 fine was implemented on Sept. 14, 2020, for violations.       

Under updated Transportation Security Administration guidance, face masks are required on all forms of public transportation through at least March 18, 2022, regardless of vaccination status.