PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) has announced the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended the federal mandate requiring face masks to be worn when using public transportation – including trains and buses.
The mandate, in place since Feb. 1, 2021, has now been extended through May 3, as COVID cases in the U.S., and Rhode Island, are climbing.
“CDC continues to monitor the spread of the Omicron COVID-19 variant, especially the BA.2 subvariant that now makes up more than 85% of U.S. cases. Since early April 2022, there have been increases in the 7-day moving average of COVID-19 cases in the United States,” the TSA noted in their announcement.
The security directive states that face masks remain a requirement for passengers and employees on “all transportation networks throughout the United States, including at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, and on commuter bus and rail systems.”
“RIPTA is committed to following TSA guidelines to keep our employees and passengers safe while we continue to navigate through this pandemic,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer.
Passengers under the age of two and those who have a disability that prevents them from safely wearing a mask are exempt on RIPTA buses. Those who cannot comply due to a disability must contact RIPTA prior to traveling on board any of its vehicles. They must seek an exemption in advance by calling Customer Service at 401-784-9500, ext. 2012. For general information on traveling safely with RIPTA during the pandemic, please visit RIPTA.com/covid-19/.
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