Coronavirus: TTC allowing workers to wear face masks, riders can board at all vehicle doors

Click to play video: 'Toronto changes TTC policies and encourages more social distancing to halt COVID-19 spread'
Toronto changes TTC policies and encourages more social distancing to halt COVID-19 spread
WATCH ABOVE: Toronto’s medical officer of health said residents need to do more to respect social distancing as the number of COVID-19 cases jumped again. This stance comes as the TTC changes its policies to increase safety. Matthew Bingley reports – Mar 18, 2020

The Toronto Transit Commission is changing its position on allowing employees to wear face masks amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The change in position was confirmed in a news released issued by the transit agency on Wednesday. The TTC said employees can now wear their own masks.

TTC officials said Toronto Public Health advised against those who are healthy from wearing masks because “masks may in fact increase risk as they can lead to individuals touching their face more often than necessary.”

“However, going forward employees who choose to wear additional [personal protective equipment] will not be asked to remove it,” the statement said.
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“The TTC has determined that, for the comfort of employees, and to ensure continuity of transit service for those who need it at this time, it will not restrict employees from wearing masks while at work.”

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Carlos Santos, president of ATU Local 113 — the union that represents approximately 12,000 TTC workers, welcomed the change. He said it follows a strong push by the union.

“While we wish the TTC would have moved sooner on this, we appreciate the policy change to provide workers the choice to wear protective masks on the job,” he said in a statement.

The TTC also announced customers will be able to board at all vehicle doors in an effort to reduce crowding at one particular door. Customers will still need to tap their Presto cards.

Lastly, the transit agency said Wheel-Trans vehicles will soon be transporting Toronto Community Housing tenants who have symptoms of COVID-19 to health or isolation centres as necessary. The vehicle driver and the rider(s) will be outfitted with personal protective equipment. The TTC said the vehicles will subsequently undergo “intensive” cleaning.

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As of Wednesday evening, there were 214 cases of COVID-19 in Ontario.


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