Grab that extra layer of protection – Face coverings become mandatory on GO Transit today

Donning nose and mouth coverings are now a must on GO Transit and UP Express. Here’s what you need to know, as everyone does their essential best for the safety and health of fellow customers and transit staff.

Covering up is now a must on GO Transit and UP Express.

Starting today (July 21), all passengers on GO trains and buses, as well as UP vehicles, must wear face coverings.

While face coverings have been deemed essential for some time on GO and UP lines, they will now be required.

Olivera sits on GO, with her dog at her feet.

Olivera Kralj, seen here sitting in a GO Train featuring the new clear plastic seat dividers, says she wears a mask in all indoor public spaces including on transit (Scott Money photo)

The change isn’t expected to be too daunting, as many customers – as many as nine in 10 – were already routinely wear the added layer of protection during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Metrolinx officials say there will be some riders who will not be able to wear face coverings due to pre-existing conditions, as well as children under two. The transit agency is asking everyone to understand those situations and says no customers will be left behind.

Two Merolinx employees go about their day on UP Express, while wearing face coverings. (Anne Marie Aikins photo)

From Station Attendants to Transit Safety Officers to even Commuter Train Operators, all Metrolinx staff wear face coverings on the job. (Anne Marie Aikins Photo)

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

“I’m doing it not just to protect myself, but others too,” said Olivera Kralj, as she recently rode a Lakeshore West train.

Mandatory face coverings are the latest part of a comprehensive health and safety strategy at Metrolinx.

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.

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.

Phil Verster stand in the Great Hall at Union Station.

Metrolinx CEO, Phil Verster says safety is a partnership between GO Transit and riders, which I why he is asking everyone to wear a face covering. (Anne Marie Aikins Photo)

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.

So today is the day, no matter the weather, to add that extra layer of protection, before heading on the GO – or to UP Express.

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

Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx bilingual spokesperson, media relations and issues specialist, with files by Scott Money, Metrolinx senior advisor, Media Relations and Issues.