If you’re using public transit in June, don’t forget your face mask. In an announcement on Thursday, it was confirmed that masks will be required on all OC Transpo services as of June 15, and you won't be able to board without one. Staff members will also be required to wear a face covering.
In an announcement on May 26, it was revealed that transit users in Ottawa will be required to wear face masks on all journeys, starting on June 15.
Riders of OC Transpo buses and the O-Train will be asked to put on their face mask prior to boarding, in an attempt to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
It’s one of eight new health and safety measures that the transit service is implementing, to help keep services as germ-free as possible during the pandemic.
“The Service Recovery Plan places the safety of our riders and employees first. The move to mandatory masks will be challenging, but necessary for passenger and employee safety,” Allan Hubley, Transit Commission Chair, explained.
In a series of tweets about the changes, Hubley added that masks would be mandatory for anybody using "buses, trains, Para Transpo minibuses and contracted taxis, as well as anyone in a transit station."
This will include staff members, as well as all transport drivers.
Their new plan is expected to be presented to the Transit Commission on Monday.
3/9 Step 2 – Starting June 15, masks will be required for anyone on buses, trains, Para Transpo minibuses and contr… https://t.co/GdcPwpU3pn— Allan Hubley (@Allan Hubley) 1590691745.0
In his statement, Allan Hubley noted that Ottawa Public Health is now officially recommending that residents wear non-medical masks when out and about, particularly in places where physical distancing is not possible.
“As ridership increases with the reopening of the economy, it will not be possible to maintain physical distancing on buses and trains,” he explained.
“Masks or face coverings retain respiratory secretions and will help to maintain safety when physical distancing is not possible when taking transit,” the notice continued.
The only exceptions to this rule will be young children, and those people who may have difficulty breathing when using a face covering.
5/9 Step 3 – Summer service starts on June 28. All routes will be back in service. School services will not operate… https://t.co/UKhDRI66HN— Allan Hubley (@Allan Hubley) 1590691746.0
While transit riders will be expected to have their own mask, the councillor promised that the City's Human Needs task team is working to get supplies to everybody who might need them.
In the week following June 15, a limited amount of masks will be available for those attempting to use transit service without appropriate face coverings.
Hubley also noted that front door boarding on buses will resume on June 15, and that hand sanitizer would be made available at most transit stations.
Enhanced cleaning measures will also continue, particularly on buses, trains, and in stations.
Mask up, Ottawa!
*This article's cover image is for illustrative purposes only.