COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Central Ohio Transit Authority announced on Saturday that starting Wednesday, April 15, COTA customers will be required to wear masks covering their faces on all transit vehicles.
COTA says the masks must be secure and cover the nose and mouth and can be medical, homemade, scarves or bandanas. COTA says it will not be providing masks.
The agency says the requirement is consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health, which recommend wearing face coverings while out in public.
Officials say the recommendation from the CDC is to help prevent those with COVID-19 from passing it to others.
“We are determined to take every step we can in order to protect the health of our operators and those customers using COTA for essential travel,” said Joanna M. Pinkerton, COTA president and CEO, in a press release. “If customers must travel, we ask that they practice social distancing to protect themselves, other customers and operators, who are dedicated to providing essential service during this crucial time.”
Anyone wanting more information is directed to visit COTA.com or call the Customer Information Center (614-228-1776).
In the press release, COTA said they were also taking the following safety measures:
- Earlier this week, COTA began distributing masks to all COTA employees. Masks are of the same grade as shared with area hospitals including Nationwide Children’s.
- On April 3 COTA announced an Essential Travel Only Policy, for which transit vehicles are to be used by customers only for access to food, health care, travel to and from work, and caring for others.
- April 1 COTA began mandatory temperature checks for all employees entering COTA facilities.
- On March 19, COTA suspended fares and instructed riders to board transit vehicles from the rear doors to keep them separated from operators.
- COTA’s focused service, announced March 16, reduces the number of vehicle routes and consolidates service in some areas. Services are constantly evaluated based on ridership trends and dynamic service needs.
- COTA limits the number of riders on each transit vehicle to 20 and continues to ask riders to observe social distancing.
- All vehicles are sanitized multiple times daily, and COTA also cleans those vehicles every 12 hours with sanitizing solutions the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have approved. Transit stops are also regularly cleaned.
- All COTA vehicles are equipped with hand sanitizing dispensers, stocked daily and located at the front of the vehicle.
- On March 1 introduced the “Stop the Spread” campaign which provided tips on how to prevent the spread of infectious disease.