CTA train and bus ridership remains well below pre-pandemic levels, but if you need to take public transportation, it's important to protect yourself (and others) while riding. That's why the CTA has approved the rollout of vending machines stocked with face masks, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes and gloves at six stations throughout Chicago. Now if you forget your mask at home, you'll be able to snag a new one, albeit at an inflated price.
The vending machines were approved during yesterday's Chicago Transit Board meeting and will be placed at the Belmont, Roosevelt and 79th stations on the Red Line, the Midway station on the Orange Line, the Jefferson Park station on the Blue Line and the Kedzie station on the Green Line. The items inside the machine are priced between $3.75 and $10, so you're definitely paying for the convenience.
Canteen Vending will install and operate the machines, which are likely to be similar to PPE vending machines that it operates throughout the Metropolitan Transportation Authority train system in New York City.
It's important to note that while the city and state is requiring the use of face coverings in public places where social distancing isn't possible, current CTA guidelines only "promote social distancing and wearing masks." But just because you technically can't get kicked off a train or bus for not donning a mask doesn't mean that you shouldn't wear one. Current CDC guidance recommends sporting a face covering "in public settings and inside any public or private vehicle," in addition to maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others and avoiding touching surfaces.
The CTA did not announce when the PPE vending machines will be installed in the aforementioned stations, so keep lining all your jacket pockets with extra masks (and don't forget to use them).
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