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Face masks mandatory for many local transit agencies, starting July 2



Since May, the Government of Ontario has urged Ontarians to wear face masks when travelling on public transit vehicles.

Now, starting Thursday, July 2, many regional and local transit agencies in Toronto, the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area and the Greater Golden Horseshoe are requiring passengers and operators to wear masks or other face coverings when aboard buses, streetcars and trains.

Others are “strongly recommending” them.

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Image: Burlington Transit

Here’s what various transit agencies say their policies are around wearing face masks when using public transit. If your local transit service doesn’t appear in this list, that’s because we haven’t found an official statement about the issue, or your local service remains cancelled due to COVID-19.


Regional
Toronto
Elsewhere in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area
Elsewhere in the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area

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Image: Grand River Transit


Barrie Transit

Barrie Transit says,

“To assis​t in protecting transit staff and riders, the Ministry of Health recommends the use of face coverings, particularly when physical distancing is not possible on public transit.

Masks will be mandatory on buses when front door boarding resumes in mid-July. By requiring all passengers to wear a mask, more riders can be safely accommodated. The current policy of limiting buses to 15 passengers has resulted in some passengers being turned away. By requiring all passengers to wear a mask, more riders can be safely accommodated.

Brampton Transit

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Starting Thursday, July 1, all riders and operators must wear a non-medical mask on buses and at terminals.

Children under the age of two, or those with disabilities or other medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask will not be required to wear one.

Starting Monday, June 25, BT employees handed out as many as 100,000 disposable, non-medical masks to passengers at Bramalea, Brampton Gateway and Downtown Terminals (while supplies lasted.)

Brantford Transit

The City of Brantford says,

“It is strongly recommended to wear a face covering in public, but especially in situations such as: + riding public transit… “

Burlington Transit

Burlington Transit says,

“To help with the safety of [passengers] and staff, non-medical masks or face coverings are mandatory starting Thursday, July 2.”

You must wear a mask:

  • At bus stops;
  • In terminals; and
  • While on Burlington Transit buses and vehicles.

Only these [passengers] are exempt from wearing a mask:

  • People with a disability or medical conditions that prevent them from wearing a mask; and
  • Children younger than the age of two.

BT further explains that “Mandatory masks and face coverings help making riding transit as safe as possible from the spread of COVID-19.”

Durham Region Transit

DRT says,

“Further to the recommendation on May 20 from the Province’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (Ministry of Health), all patrons of Ontario transit agencies are encouraged to wear a face covering at all times during their travels, particularly in situations where physical distancing is not possible.”

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GO Transit

GO says,

“Please wear a face covering when you ride with us. We’ve made it mandatory for our staff to wear one on the job. It’s part of our commitment to protect you. We ask you to protect them, and your fellow riders. That said, we ask for your understanding as not everyone can wear face coverings for health or personal reasons.”

Grand River Transit

GRT says,

“[Passengers] are encouraged to wear a mask or face covering while riding transit.

  • Fabric mask;
  • Bandana;
  • Scarf covering the mouth and nose.

“Wearing a non-medical mask helps protect those around you, even if you have no symptoms. A mask helps reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in settings where physical distancing is challenging.

“Some people should not wear face coverings, including children younger than the age of two, people with medical conditions or those unable to put on or take off a face covering.”

Guelph Transit

The City of Guelph says,

“In Guelph, you are required to wear a single-use or fabric mask, scarf, or bandana to cover your nose and mouth when using public transit or visiting indoor commercial establishments. Wearing a homemade face covering may not protect you from the virus, but it can help protect others around you.

“The medical order from Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health states that people in commercial establishments may be exempt from wearing a face covering if:

  • they are [younger than] the age of 5 years either chronologically or developmentally, and they refuse to wear a face covering and cannot be persuaded to do so by their caregiver;
  • a face covering would inhibit their ability breathe;
  • for any other medical reason, they cannot safely wear a face covering including but not limited to, respiratory disease, cognitive difficulties or difficulties in hearing or processing information.”

Hamilton Street Railway

The HSR has required passengers to wear masks, starting Monday, June 22.

Milton Transit

The Town of Milton says,

“Residents are strongly encouraged to use face coverings (e.g. non-medical masks) while using Milton Transit and to continue practising physical distancing while on transit, where possible.”

MiWay

MiWay says,

“It will be mandatory for riders to wear non-medical masks or face coverings on board buses. Children under the age of two, and people with disabilities or other medical conditions that prevent them from wearing any mask will not be required to wear one.”

Niagara Falls Transit

Niagara Falls Transit says,

“Where physical distancing can be a challenge, it is recommended that the public wear cloth masks or face coverings that cover the nose and mouth. Signs onboard illustrate the correct way to put on and wear a face covering or cloth mask safely.

“This direction follows advice issued by federal, provincial and local health authorities that those taking public transit should wear face coverings as the best line of defence against COVID-19. Masks should be worn before entering buses, at hubs, onboard Chair-A-Van vehicles and in our Transcab contracted taxis.”

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Niagara Region Transit

Niagara Region Transit says,

“In alignment with Provincial guidelines and the advice of Public Health, all passengers are strongly recommended to wear face coverings while using public transit.”

“Riders may also see barriers; these provide more protection for riders and drivers.”

Oakville Transit

Oakville Transit says,

“Following the strong recommendation of Halton Public Health and the Governments of Ontario and Canada, effective July 2, 2020, non-medical masks or face coverings will be mandatory when travelling on Oakville Transit to help keep [passengers] and operators safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Children younger than the age of two, people with disabilities or other medical conditions that prevent them from wearing any mask will not be required to wear one. It’s important to remember, not all disabilities or medical conditions are visible.

“In addition, in an effort to protect passengers and drivers from COVID-19, Oakville Transit is installing protective driver shields around the bus operator cab on all conventional buses, so [passengers] can board and pay fares at the front.”

Peterborough Transit

Peterborough Transit says,

“Safety measures include masks, face shields and gloves for bus drivers. Protective shields are being installed around the driver’s area and transit will continue enhanced cleaning of buses and high-touch surfaces. [Passengers] are asked to be patient and do their part as seating limits will remain in place to support physical distancing on buses. Wearing masks and using hand sanitizer is strongly encouraged.”

Simcoe County LINX

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The County of Simcoe says,

“Face covering or non-surgical masks will be highly recommended for LINX Transit customers. LINX operators will be wearing appropriate safety gear to ensure the safety of our customers.

LINX Transit is following the newly introduced Ministry of Transportation (MTO) Public Transit Safety Guidelines to protect our communities and reduce the risk to passengers and employees by restricting opportunities for community transmission, including requiring all passengers and drivers to wear non-medical masks or face coverings. While masks or face coverings will be highly recommended, we understand there are circumstance for children and people with disabilities, or other medical conditions, that prevent them from wearing a mask.”

St. Catharines Transit Commission

No official statement, but the SCTC has posted this graphic on its website:

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Toronto Transit Commission

Starting Thursday, July 2, masks or face coverings are mandatory when travelling on the TTC, except for:

  • Children younger than two years of age.
  • Persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits the ability to wear a mask or face covering.
  • Persons who can’t place or remove a mask or face covering without help.
  • TTC employees and agents in an area only for TTC personnel and not for public access, or within or behind a physical barrier or shield.
  • The TTC will also consider more accommodations in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.

From TTC By-Law No. 1, s. 3.13(a):

The TTC will not be enforcing the use of masks or face coverings. Customers who do not have a mask or face covering will still be permitted to board TTC vehicles. Not all medical or other conditions are visible.

The TTC says that these face coverings are required as a safety precaution as more passengers return to the system and physical distancing becomes more challenging.

To support passengers in this change the TTC is employing a one-time targeted strategy to distribute one million non-medical masks. It will distribute half of the masks to passengers in the community through a partnership with the City of Toronto Poverty Reduction Office and affiliated agencies. TTC employees will distribute the other half through a rotating campaign in TTC stations, in Wheel-Trans and at high traffic bus interchanges. The campaign in stations will run from Monday, June 29 until Wednesday, July 8. Note that the masks are for one-time use only (disposable).

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Union Pearson express

UPX says,

“At UP Express, safety never stops. While travelling, please wear a face covering, wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer, and practice physical distancing when possible.”

Welland Transit

Welland Transit says,

“Public Health Officials are encouraging you to wear some form of facial protection when utilizing public transit. This protection does not have to be a formal medical grade face mask, it can be anything that prevents your respiratory droplets from reaching others when you talk / breathe or landing on surfaces others may touch.

“It is strongly recommended that all Transit customers either boarding the buses or entering the Terminal wear a face covering (mask) for the safety of all.”

York Region Transit

Starting Thursday, July 2,YRT says, “it will be mandatory to wear a non-medical face mask or covering on public transit. (by-law no. 2017-7, as amended). This is to help to keep everyone safe. YRT and other transit agencies cannot guarantee physical distancing.”

“Note that these passengers should not wear a face mask or covering:

  • children younger than the age of two;
  • anyone who has trouble breathing;
  • anyone who can’t remove a mask without help; and
  • anyone who requires accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Please DO NOT LITTER. Place disposable masks in a lined garbage bin. YRT has more than 900 waste bins cross its system, including at terminals, vivastations and at major bus stops. Wash cloth masks after each use.”

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