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Prepare to pay $50 for not wearing a mask on the subway

"Riders who are still not getting this message will now see the cost associated with that thinking.”

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Written by
Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

If the slew of celebrities' voices reminding you to stay socially distant and mask up while riding public transit hasn't convinced you to keep your face covered, this $50 fine might. 

On Wednesday, September 22, the MTA announced that it will start enforcing $50 fines for passengers who are not wearing masks, which are free to the public at all subway booths. To date, the MTA has offered over 11 million paper masks to customers. 

According to both New York State and federal law, face coverings are required on public transit, including buses, subways and enclosed stations. 

How these fines will be delivered and enforced, however, is still unclear, as the MTA announced last year that fines for not wearing masks would be given to passengers, to little effect. Still, September 2021 brought a new surge of mask encouragement, with the MTA providing thousands of masks to commuters, students and any passengers in need of PPE on the increasingly crowded subways.

“Our officers have surged into major hubs to remind riders to wear their mask, and have handed out 25,000 free masks in just two weeks,” said Joseph McGrann, Acting Chief of the MTA Police Department. “In the coming weeks officers will step up enforcement efforts on commuter rails and work with our partners at the NYPD for the subway and bus system. The message is clear, wear a mask. Riders who are still not getting this message will now see the cost associated with that thinking.” 

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