Metrolinx announces mandatory face coverings for GO Transit and UP Express

As more people return to GO Transit and UP Express services each day, and with the Greater Toronto Area preparing to enter Stage 3 of the recovery process, the transit agency is making face covering a must. For the safety of fellow riders and transit staff, it’s the right thing to do to help fight the spread of COVID-19.

Before you GO, cover up.

Metrolinx announced today (July 17), that face coverings will be mandatory on all GO Transit vehicles, as well as on UP Express trains.

While face coverings have been deemed essential for some time on GO and UP lines – the mantra is that they are simply the right thing to do for the safety of all – they will be required as of Tuesday, July 21.

Photo of GO Transit Station Attendant Linett Brown

GO Transit station attendant Linett Brown (Matt Llewellyn photo)

Mandatory Face Coverings on GO

Face coverings on transit were far less common when the pandemic first began in March. Now, more than half of GO and UP customers – and in some cases, as many as 90 per cent – have been wearing protective face coverings over their noses and mouths with some sort of protective barrier.

While it will be a requirement for all customers as of next Tuesday, Metrolinx officials say there will be some riders who will not be able to wear face coverings due to pre-existing conditions. The transit agency is asking everyone to understand those situations and says no customers will be left behind.

Transit staff will be on board trains, buses and in stations informing customers about the need to wear a face covering.

GO customer Jeff Burke standing on a GO station platform

GO customer Jeff Burke (Matt Llewellyn photo)

Safety Never Stops

Mandatory face coverings are the latest part of a comprehensive health and safety strategy Metrolinx started to develop before a pandemic was declared earlier this year.

On-board safety measures continue to expand and evolve as the province moves through a phased return to normal. They now include rolling out dividers between train and bus seats, hand sanitizer dispensers, and a comprehensive vehicle and station cleaning regiment that has staff constantly wiping down touch-points.

GO Transit fare inspector Samantha Sheppard

GO Transit fare inspector Samantha Sheppard (Matt Llewellyn photo)

Moving Forward Together

Metrolinx says that while they are closely monitoring ridership throughout the network and making every effort to adjust services to give customers space to spread out, there is going to come a point as the province moves into Stage 3 and more people travel to work and play, when physical distancing is just not possible.

Since late May, the Chief Medical Officer of Health has asked everyone in the province to wear a face covering in areas where physical distancing isn’t always possible, such as on public transit.

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GO customer Cricia Adwoa (Matt Llewellyn photo)

Do I Have To Wear Protective Face Coverings On GO?

As face coverings have become as common and universal as carrying a cell phone – whether going for groceries or riding to work in the morning – it’ll now be mandatory on GO and UP.

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GO Bus driver Ruslan Kubovych (Matt Llewellyn photo)

For more Metrolinx News articles on the many health and safety measures taken on GO Transit and UP Express, just go here.

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GO customer Wendy McClymont (Matt Llewellyn photo)

GO customer Laura Twidle

GO customer Laura Twidle (Matt Llewellyn photo)

Story by: Scott Money, Metrolinx senior advisor, media relations and issues.