Mask Force Volunteers Have Distributed 800,000 Free Masks Since July 2020
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) held its 14th ‘Mask Force’ event today, with MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer, Interim NYC Transit President Craig Cipriano, MTA staff and volunteers distributing tens of thousands of free masks throughout the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and NYC Transit subway system. Since its inception, approximately 1,120 New Yorkers have volunteered for the MTA Mask Force, handing out more than 800,000 masks.
The 14th Mask Force comes at a time when mask usage has once again become prevalent amidst the rise of the Delta variant across the globe. Masks are still required onboard trains, buses, paratransit vehicles, and at indoor stations regardless of vaccination status.
“As the Delta variant spreads throughout the region, it’s more important than ever to mask up on public transit to protect yourself and your fellow riders,” said MTA Chief Customer Officer Sarah Meyer. “I’m proud to be one of the hundreds of Mask Force volunteers ensuring every person who riders the train or bus has access to a free mask. We recently increased the frequency of mask announcements in the system and posted thousands of more signs reminding us where masks are required.”
“It is great to see riders returning to mass transit, but there is still work to be done to get New York back to normal and beat COVID once and for all,” said Interim NYC Transit President Craig Cipriano. “Remember to get vaccinated and mask up on trains, buses and inside of stations. If you forget your mask at home, you can visit one of our station booths or look for a volunteer in a yellow shirt and get a free mask from the MTA.”
Mask Force volunteers and MTA staff today are at the following stations:
Long Island Rail Road
- Atlantic Terminal
- Penn Station
- Grand Central Terminal
- Goldens Bridge
New York City Transit
- 74 St-Roosevelt Av-Jackson Hts
- 149 St-Grand Concourse
- Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr
- Coney Island-Stillwell Av
The MTA has acquired for distribution to employees and customers 35 million masks to date. In addition to the 10.3 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 24.7 million masks, 24.5 million pairs of gloves, 138,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 280,000 7-oz and 2-oz bottles of hand sanitizer, 15.9 million individual sanitizing cleaning wipes, 332,000 gallons of cleaning solution and 21,000 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 CDC guidance, face masks are required on nearly all forms of public transportation through at least January 18, 2022. Masks are no longer required on outdoor NYC Transit platforms, outdoor Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and Staten Island Railway stations and platforms, and bus stops.