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MTA heads to Atlantic Avenue, Coney Island for ‘Mask Force’ event

December 17, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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MTA personnel headed out to the Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center subway-railway complex and the Coney Island-Stillwell Avenue terminal, both of which handle multiple subway lines, to hand out free masks on Friday.

The event, which also was held at stations in Queens, the Bronx, Manhattan and on the Staten Island Railway, was the 16th “Mask Force” event held by the transit agency, made more urgent because of the rise of the Omicron variant. 

“As the Omicron variant spreads throughout the New York City region, it’s more important than ever to remember that wearing a mask while riding is the best way to protect yourself and your fellow riders,” said Sarah Meyer, MTA Chief Customer Officer. “There are free masks available at subway station booths and on commuter railroad trains for anyone who needs one.” 

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Approximately 120 volunteers, some of them high-ranking MTA officials, distributed masks. Masks are still required on board trains, buses, paratransit vehicles and at indoor stations regardless of COVID-19 vaccination status.  

The MTA has acquired for distribution to employees and customers 43 million masks to date. In addition to the 13.4 million masks available for customers, the Authority has also made available 750,000 2-oz bottles of hand sanitizer. 

Additionally, the Authority has distributed to its workforce 29.6 million masks, 32.3 million pairs of gloves, 152,000 gallons of hand sanitizer, 307,000 7-oz and 2-oz bottles of hand sanitizer, 17.9 million individual sanitizing cleaning wipes, 387,000 gallons of cleaning solution and 23,000 face shields.    

Employees and volunteers wear bright yellow t-shirts and vests identifying them as part of the team. 

The MTA first launched its Mask Force in July 2020 in order to supplement its existing distribution of masks in the transit system and acknowledge customers who are already compliant. Wearing a face covering on public transportation in New York was required by law under Executive Order 202.18. A $50 fine was implemented on Sept. 14, 2020 for violations.      

Under updated CDC guidance, face masks are required on nearly all forms of public transportation through at least Jan. 18, 2022, regardless of vaccination status.

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