There's a new crew in town and they're coming for the unmasked.
On Monday, the MTA launched the cheekily-named "Mask Force," a team of 300 employees and volunteers (top MTA officials, elected officials and their staffs, advocates, and community board members) in yellow T-shirts, who will be distributing masks directly to customers for the foreseeable future.
The new team will be traveling throughout the subway, bus and commuter rail system offering free disposable surgical-style masks, provided by the State of New York, to riders who need them.
By now, you've surely seen Metro-Man—he's been handing out masks at Metro-North hubs this month.
It's all part of the MTA's latest initiative to get straphangers to wear masks, called "Operation Respect." In case you missed it, everyone is required to wear a mask while on public transportation.
"Wearing a mask is the single most important thing all our customers and employees can do to combat the spread of COVID-19 and continue flattening the curve here in New York—and it’s the law," said MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick J. Foye. "Every MTA customer can be a part of Operation Respect, sending a clear message that their health and safety and that of everyone around them is important."
To help keep people "respectful," the state has donated 1 million masks for distribution for a total of 3 million being handed out to New Yorkers in addition to free masks riders can get from station booths.
There are also amusing and eye-catching signs across the city to show how to properly use masks and social distance.
Given all of this, there's really no excuse not to wear a mask on the bus or subway.
So mask up, or the Mask Force will find you!
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