Amtrak is the latest public transportation system to require that passengers wear masks in order to ride their rails.
Passengers must bring their own face masks, the New York Post reports, which can cover their noses and mouths except when eating, seated alone or with a travel companion.
An Amtrak press release states, “As part of Amtrak’s ongoing commitment to protect customers and front-line employees in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, beginning on May 11 Amtrak is requiring that all customers in stations, on trains and thruway buses wear facial coverings.”
Amtrak is taking other steps to battle Coronavirus, including cutting bookings by 50% to help with physical distancing, going “cashless” with all payments, erecting barriers in ticket offices and other areas, updating food and beverage service to allow flexible dining, limiting dining seating and encouraging all passengers to take meals in their compartments.
Amtrak CEO and President Bill Flynn said, “The safety of Amtrak’s customers and employees is our top priority and requiring a facial covering is one more way we can protect everyone. Amtrak continues to operate as an essential service for those who must travel during this public health crisis. Our services will be even more critical as our nation recovers.”
Amtrak is hardly alone in taking these steps. JetBlue Airways became the first US airline to require masks on passengers. United and Frontier require flight attendants to be masked and American and Delta have announced similar policies, CBS News reports.
As of April 20, Canada required all airline passengers to wear masks, Business Insider reported.
Smaller airlines, like Alaska, Frontier, Southwest and even tiny Cape Air have said all passengers soon will be required to wear masks. Max Tidwell, Alaska Airlines vice president of safety, said, “In light of COVID-19, we're in a new era of air travel. For now, this includes wearing masks, which is another layer of protection that can reduce the spread of the virus," CBS News reported.
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