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MTA holds one-year anniversary ‘Mask Force’ giveaway in Brooklyn

July 20, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) held its 13th “Mask Force” giveaway event on Tuesday, approximately one year after the first such event was organized.

The mask distribution was held at the combined Atlantic Terminal Long Island Railroad station and the adjacent Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway station, as well as at the Stillwell Avenue-Coney Island subway terminal, the Broadway-East New York subway transfer station, and other sites throughout the five boroughs and lower Westchester.

Since the program’s inception in July 2020, approximately 1,100 New Yorkers have volunteered for the MTA Mask Force, handing out more than 750,000 masks. 

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The 13th Mask Force comes at a time when mask usage has once again become prevalent  amidst the rise of the Delta variant across the globe. Masks are still required onboard trains, buses, paratransit vehicles, and at indoor stations regardless of vaccination status.  

At Mask Force events, volunteers sporting bright yellow shirts distributed free masks to customers onboard trains and buses, as well as at major transit hubs throughout the operating region. 

An MTA volunteer gives out masks aboard a subway train. MTA photo by Marc Hermann

In November 2020, the MTA partnered with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, NJ TRANSIT, Amtrak and Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority to create a regional Mask Force. 

“Today I joined hundreds of my fellow New Yorkers to remind people of the importance of wearing a mask in the transit system, both in stations and on trains and buses,” said Sarah Meyer, MTA chief customer officer. “If anyone needs a mask, please remember to visit one of our station booths or look for a volunteer in a yellow shirt. We recently increased the frequency of mask announcements in the system and posted thousands more signs reminding us where masks are required.” 

Mask Force volunteers and MTA staff on Tuesday were at the following stations:     

Long Island Rail Road  

* Atlantic Terminal 

* Jamaica 

* Penn Station   

Metro-North Railroad  

* Grand Central Terminal 

* Mount Vernon West 

* New Rochelle 

* Yonkers 

New York City Transit  

* 145 St/St. Nicholas – 

* Atlantic Av-Barclays Ctr  

* Broadway Junction-ENY 

* Coney Island-Stillwell Av 

* Grand Central-42 St  

* Jackson Heights-Roosevelt Av/74 St 

* Jamaica-Sutphin Blvd/Archer Av 

* St. George 

* Times Square-42 St 

The MTA first launched its Mask Force in order to supplement its existing distribution of masks in the transit system and acknowledge customers who are already compliant. 

The Mask Force is part of Operation Respect, which was launched to bolster mask usage on subways, buses, commuter rails and paratransit. Safe Travels launched in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic arriving in New York. The robust, multichannel campaign has become ubiquitous across the Authority’s vast transportation network. 


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