Anyone riding Metro Transit's buses, trains, Metro Mobility and Transit Link is required to wear something covering their face starting Monday, May 18, the Metropolitan Council said in a news release Friday.
The Metropolitan Council, which oversees Metro Transit, began recommending riders wear cloth face coverings in April. Since then, public health officials have placed more emphasis on wearing face coverings in public in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, prompting this new requirement for riders, the release said.
Riders will see this requirement posted online, onboard vehicles and at boarding locations, as well as hear on-board announcements related to the face-covering policy.
Those who don't wear a face covering cannot be denied service, but the Met Council says "additional steps may be taken if there is ongoing, widespread non-compliance."
People who are under the age of 2 and those who have trouble breathing or are unable to remove the face mask without assistance are not required to wear one.
Acceptable face coverings include those made from cotton material (directions for how to make one are available on the CDC's website here), bandanas, scarves or other types of cloth face coverings, Met Council says.
The Met Council notes face coverings will be available to on-site essential staff, including operators. It is not currently providing them to riders who may need one.
Transit staff and operators are encouraged to wear face coverings when physical distancing isn't possible. Metro Transit has rear-door boarding and barriers in place, so operators can maintain a physical distance and are not required to wear a face covering while operating a bus. Meanwhile, Metro Mobility and Transit Link operators are required to wear a mask while escorting and securing customers.