AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is requiring all travelers to wear face coverings on public transit. The mandate went into effect Monday, days after President Joe Biden issued an executive order requiring face coverings be worn on federal property.
Masks must be worn on buses, taxis, airplanes, trains, subways, buses, taxis and ride-shares, including Uber and Lyft. Travelers must also follow this rule while waiting for rides at airports, train platforms as well as bus and subway stations. Masks must cover a person’s nose and mouth and fit properly on their face. Bandanas, face shields and masks with exhalation valves do not comply with the order.
Enforement in Augusta
Augusta Transit is partnering with the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office to enforce the CDC’s mandate.
“The Sheriff’s Office strongly encourages the public to wear masks as this will reduce COVID infections, illnesses and deaths. The Sheriff’s Office will investigate any complaints by transit workers that passengers are not complying with the mask mandate. In those cases, the Sheriff’s Office will take appropriate action.”Chief Patrick Clayton, Richmond County Sheriff’s Office
Augusta Transit has seen an increase in people traveling on its buses since the city began offering free rides. Dr. Oliver Page, the Deputy Director of Augusta Transit, tells NewsChannel 6 many people are now riding buses to escape the cold weather. This is creating challenges for those who rely on public transit for work or necessities. Augusta Transit is limiting the number of people on a bus at one time to allow for social distancing.
“If you have a definitive destination that’s fine, but if you are riding the bus to stay warm, you are displacing people who have to get to work or their medical appointment,” he explains.