Maskless city straphangers will soon be subject to a $50 fine, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday.
Starting on Monday, NYPD cops and MTA police will have the authority to slap subway and bus riders with the summonses if they refuse to wear a face covering.
I said to the MTA, ‘You have to come up with an enforcement plan for people not wearing masks,’” Cuomo said during a telephone press briefing with reporters, praising the work that agency leaders have done in maintaining the system throughout the public-health crisis.
“This is for the handful of people who are not compliant.”
Speaking on the same call, MTA officials said that masking up was about respecting your fellow riders.
“It is reassuring to other passengers who play by the rules that mask wearing is mandatory,” said MTA Chairman Pat Foye. “It’s a matter of respect for co-commuters and employees.”
Added interim New York City Transit Authority President Sarah Feinberg, “One or two people don’t have a right … to scare people from the system.”
The MTA’s largest union, TWU Local 100, has repeatedly called for cops to enforce the mask rules to keep both its members and the commuters they serve safe. Several bus drivers have faced violent responses from mask-averse travellers.
At the pandemic’s height in April, Cuomo took the historic step of suspending New York’s 24/7 subway service to facilitate nightly deep cleanings of every train in the system.
The same month, Cuomo mandated that any New Yorkers venturing into people-packed areas — including onto public transportation — wear a mask.
In May, he affirmed the right of private businesses to turn away shoppers who didn’t follow the rule.
The MTA says 93 percent of riders are now wearing a mask — though 15 percent of those people aren’t wearing theirs properly, tucking it below their nose or chin.
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