TTC Board votes in favour of mandatory face coverings on the TTC

Today, the TTC Board voted in favour of making face coverings or cloth masks mandatory for TTC customers starting July 2, 2020.

“We’ve already seen an increase in the number of people wearing face coverings on the TTC since we began strongly recommending this practice in the middle of May,” said Rick Leary, TTC CEO. “To support our customers in this change we will be employing a one-time targeted strategy to distribute one million non-medical masks to our customers. Working with the City’s Poverty Reduction Office, the distribution will start June 29. We are also doing a multi-lingual customer education campaign to ensure awareness.”

Mandatory face coverings are one element of a number of safety measures that the TTC has put in place since the beginning of January, to help keep the system safe for customers and employees. As Toronto continues to slowly reopen, maintaining physical distancing on mass public transit becomes more challenging.

“Safety is always our top priority,” said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. “Making face coverings mandatory on public transit is a necessary measure to keep Torontonians safe as ridership begins to increase on the TTC.”

“Today, the TTC Commission made the right decision to make face coverings mandatory on the transit system. This decision, which I fully support, is based on public health advice to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city. While this rule doesn’t come into effect until July 2, I encourage everyone using the TTC to make sure they are wearing a face covering now to help protect and respect their fellow riders,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Others initiatives include: conducting multiple vehicle and station cleanings each day, equipping subway stations with hand sanitizer dispensers, and installing barriers and signage to remind customers to keep their distance from operators.

“I strongly support this decision requiring the use of a cloth mask or face covering by people using public transit, where physical distancing is challenging,” Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health for the City of Toronto, said. “This action will help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our city and protect those around us as we move towards safely reopening our city and more people return to work using our public transit system.”

Exemptions will be made for children under two years of age and for those who have medical considerations or are unable to put on or take off a face covering. TTC employees who work behind a physical shield or in areas not accessible to the public are also exempt. Given these exemptions and based on experiences in other jurisdictions where compliance has been high, the TTC does not believe strict enforcement will be necessary. But compliance rates will be monitored to determine if further action is needed.

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