New Yorkers Face Fines for Not Wearing Masks on Public Transit
Commuters exit a train at a Wall Street subway station near the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

New Yorkers Face Fines for Not Wearing Masks on Public Transit

New Yorkers will be fined $50 starting Monday if they refuse to comply with the state’s mandate to wear masks while using public transportation, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Thursday.

Cuomo, on a conference call with reporters, announced plans to increase enforcement of his previous mask order to boost ridership. Subway and commuter rail use in New York City has drastically decreased since the coronavirus pandemic began hammering the city in March.

Cuomo also directed the MTA to devise an enforcement plan so riders know cars are clean and other riders are wearing masks. Mask compliance in the MTA system is currently about 90%, Cuomo said. “But we want to make sure that people feel comfortable coming back to public transportation.”

MTA Chairman Pat Foye said on the call that the agency would file an emergency rule on Monday putting the fine in place.

If riders don’t have a mask, they will be given one, and if they refuse to wear a mask, they will not be allowed to ride, Cuomo said. The governor issued the original mask order in April.

The rules also apply to Metro-North Railroad and the Long Island Rail Road. They will be enforced by the MTA police and New York Police Department, officials said.

“Achieving universal mask compliance is our goal,” Foye said. The MTA has distributed more than 4 million masks to riders to date, he said.

New York City this week has seen an increase in vehicle traffic, with people returning to their jobs, Cuomo said, “because they feel safer in their vehicles than they do on public transportation.”

The increase in vehicle traffic can lead to more traffic jams and is not good for the environment, he has said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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