By: Mike Anderson

As of July 2, transit riders must wear a non-medical mask or face covering while on York Region Transit vehicles and at transit properties.

The new transit bylaw was approved by York Regional Council, and mirrors a similar bylaw passed by the City of Toronto for TTC transit riders, which also came into effect on July 2.

“Regional Council remains committed to the health and safety of everyone travelling, living and working in York Region,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson in a media release on June 30.

“As we are re-opening and more people have come back to our transit system, it is more important than ever for everyone to play their part in keeping our families and communities safe.”

YRT will continue to maintain measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19, including enhanced cleaning and disinfection of buses and facilities and reducing the number of seats available to assist with physical distancing.

“More people taking transit makes physical distancing difficult in some situations, creating the need to wear masks to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said King Township Mayor Steve Pellegrini, Chair of the Region’s Transportation Services.

“Making masks mandatory when taking transit is an additional step to ensure the safety of travellers and operators.”

According to York Region, a limited number of non-medical masks will be available for passengers who do not have their own. Travellers are also reminded if using disposable masks to ensure they are discarded properly in the garbage.

Exemptions will be made for children under the age of two, those unable to wear a face covering because of a medical condition and passengers needing assistance placing or removing a face covering.

Also, on July 2, YRT will begin front-door boarding and asking travellers to exit the bus through the middle or rear doors to create a one-way flow for travellers.

Barrier shields are being installed within the driver’s area to provide protection between passengers and drivers. Hand sanitizer dispensers are also being installed at all YRT terminals.

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