As part of the city’s efforts to enforce COVID-19 policies, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will be charging maskless riders with $50 fines, regardless of vaccination or natural immunity status. However, the policy is not new, as MTA is reinforcing an already instituted federal requirement from September of 2020.
In an announcement, the MTA said, “Officers will be stepping up mask enforcement throughout the system and those who do not comply with mask requirements will be more likely to face a $50 fine.” Officer presence at strategic subway railroad hubs and bus terminals, for instance entrances and throughout the stations internally.
Through its Mask Force, which launched in July of 2020, the MTA reportedly supplied 25,000 disposable masks to riders in the last two weeks. Patrick Warren, Chief Safety Officer said, “These efforts have seen mask usage recently rise on buses and trains. This next phase of our blitz will reinforce that wearing a mask is not optional. Vaccinated or not, you must wear a mask when traveling on public transit.”
After Governor Cuomo resigned following a sexual harassment scandal, his replacement, fellow Democrat, Governor Kathy Hochul is continuing to promote her predecessor’s restrictive COVID-19 policies. Although, the mask mandates implemented by institutions and businesses have received intense criticism.
Earlier this month, Hundreds of protestors demonstrated against COVID-19 vaccine mandates in New York City’s Time Square. There was a range of signs at the event, including one that said, “Government protects my rights, I protect my health” and another calling for the impeachment of President Biden.
Other protestors waved Don’t Tread on Me Flags and held banners advocating for “COVID Vaccine Victims.” Last month, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio unveiled plans to implement a vaccine passport across the state, dubbing it the “Key to New York Pass.”