'Mask Force' Out in Ten Counties Distributing Masks to Customers on Subways, Buses, Metro-North and LIRR
More Than 1,000 New Yorkers Have Joined the ‘Mask Force’ Since Its Launch in July 2020
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) held its 10th ‘Mask Force’ event today, with MTA leaders distributing free masks to riders in ten counties with special guests including elected officials, Metro-North’s mascot Metro-Man and New York Mets mascots Mr. and Mrs. Met. Riders were given more than a thousand limited edition “New York Tough” masks created by the New York Mets.
Mask usage throughout the system remains strong at 98%. Masks are available throughout the MTA system through the 'Mask Force', ambassador programs, station booths, free mask dispensers on buses, and PPE vending machines.
For “Mask Force X,” celebrating the 10th month of the Mask Force, there were added twists. The First Family of the New York Mets, Mr. and Mrs. Met, made a surprise appearance with MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye at the 74 St-Roosevelt Av-Jackson Heights subway station. In addition, reusable masks were distributed to customers as a way to reduce trash waste in celebration of Earth Day.
Metro-North President Catherine Rinaldi was at the railroad’s Southeast station, joined by MTA Board Member Neal Zuckerman, State Senator Pete Harckham, and Southeast Town Supervisor Tony Hay. Metro-North's mascot Metro-Man distributed free masks at Grand Central Terminal.
LIRR President Phil Eng was at LIRR’s Woodside station in Queens, and NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg is scheduled to distribute masks later in the day at the Union Square subway station.
Systemwide, 180 volunteers are handing out an estimated 55,000 masks to customers at the following locations today, as well as on subway trains and at city bus hubs:
New York City Transit
- 74 St-Roosevelt Av-Jackson Hts
- 145 St-St. Nicholas Av
- 149 St-Grand Concourse
- Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr
- Broadway Junction-ENY
- Coney Island–Stillwell Av
- Grand Central–42 St
- Times Square-42 St
- St. George
Long Island Rail Road
- Atlantic Terminal
- Jamaica Center
- Penn Station
- Hicksville Station
- Port Washington Station
- Babylon Station
- Ronkonkoma Station
- Woodside Station
- Grand Central Terminal
- Southeast Station
- Beacon Station
- White Plains Station
- Fordham Station
“These Mask Force events are always special, but to have Mr. and Mrs. Met alongside me at my childhood subway station was something I will remember for a long time,” said Chairman Foye. “The Mets have been great partners throughout this pandemic, supplying our heroic workforce with masks, helping every New Yorker mask up. I cannot thank the team enough and look forward to enjoying a ballgame in the near future.”
“Thanks to the hard work of New Yorkers we are starting to see ridership come back and mask usage remains extremely high,” said NYC Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg. “There is still work to be done: get the vaccine when you can, and keep wearing a mask. In the meantime, we’re proud to be promoting the marriage of two excellent ways to celebrate Earth Day: mass transit and reusable masks.”
“Our customers really stepped up when we needed them to, and mask usage on Metro-North remains very high,” said Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi. “We need to keep it up, and if a customer is ever in need, we have a free one for you onboard any train.”
“We welcome more and more riders back to the LIRR with open arms. You can ride the rails safely, and if you need a mask, don’t worry, you can get a free one at our station windows” said LIRR President Phil Eng. “Thank you to everyone for wearing your masks as we are closer than ever to beating the virus. LIRR is about connecting families, friends and communities. So as Long Island and New York continue to reopen, avoid traffic and leave the driving to us.”
Last month the Authority debuted child-size masks at a pop-up event in the Bronx. The 60,000 child-size masks were donated by New York State and are available at subway stations across the system.
Approximately 1,000 New Yorkers have volunteered for the MTA Mask Force since inception. The program focuses primarily on about a dozen subway stations for maximum line coverage and the busiest bus hubs with broad coverage across New York City. Employees and volunteers wear bright yellow t-shirts and vests identifying them as part of the team. The Mask Force has distributed more than 600,000 masks since July 2020.
To sign up to volunteer for the MTA Mask Force, visit https://new.mta.info/maskforce.
The MTA has acquired for distribution to employees and customers nearly 27 million masks to date. In addition to the over eight 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 18.7 million masks, 20.3 million pairs of gloves, 122,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 260,000 7-oz and 2-oz bottles of hand sanitizer, 13.7 million individual sanitizing cleaning wipes, 277,000 gallons of cleaning solution and 18,000 face shields.
The MTA has held 10 Mask Force events to date, over the course of 16 days since its debut last year. Wearing a face covering on public transportation in New York is required by law under Executive Order 202.18 issued by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo effective April 17, 2020. A $50 fine was implemented on Sept. 14, 2020 for violations. As a reminder, customers who are partially or fully vaccinated are still required to wear a mask while in the transit system.