This Wednesday, officials of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) announced through a press conference that they will take more drastic measures towards those who refuse to use masks within any of the units of public transport in New York City.
By State Executive Order , former Governor Andrew Cuomo had ordered the mandatory use of masks or face covers while people are on board subways, buses and railroads, otherwise those who refuse to use it, will be subject to a fine of $ 50 .
This mandate came into effect on September 14 of last year, in order to provide greater security and prevent infections. However, there are passengers who circumvent this state rule that requires them to wear masks.
The announcement made by the MTA this Wednesday warns all its customers that, starting Thursday, September 23, 2021, MTA officials will intensify the application of masks throughout the system and that those who do not comply with the requirements of the face masks are more likely to face a $ 50 fine.
“Promoting the use of masks is an important component in protecting each other. Vaccinated or not, you should wear a mask when riding public transportation, ”said Patrick Warren, MTA’s director of safety.
As the press conference progressed, MTA workers and NYPD officials handed out masks to passersby “complemented by a communication effort.” An initiative that will gradually create awareness among users.
The authorities indicated that the use of masks is not optional, but mandatory. They promised that during the next few weeks in a next phase they will continue to provide a greater number of masks for free.
The goal of increased law enforcement is to increase the use of masks or face covers across all agencies and return to compliance levels of 2020 and early 2021, where nearly 100% of passengers used them.
As explained by the MTA security director, since the $ 50 fine was implemented on September 14, 2020, MTA police officers have had more than 88,000 positive encounters with customers.
A survey conducted by the MTA revealed that during the first six months of 2020 they found that more than 80% of subway passengers wore masks over their nose and mouth. That figure dropped to 71% in early July and stayed below 75% in early September.
In an attempt not to impose fines on users, the MTA has chosen to continue implementing a softer approach through the “Mark Force” initiative, which was launched in July last year, where around 11.1 have been distributed to date to date. millions of free masks to customers.
Acting MTA Police Department Chief Joseph McGrann said officers will intensify law enforcement efforts on passenger rails over the next several weeks and work in conjunction with the NYPD for the subway and bus system. .
“In the next few weeks, the message is clear, wear a mask. Passengers who have not yet received this message will now see the cost associated with that thought, ”added McGrann,
The free masks remain available to any user in the cabins of the metro stations and on the commuter trains on board.