The Toronto Transit Commission is now requiring riders to wear face masks or coverings amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The new rule, which took effect on Thursday, applies to all riders except to children under two years old, riders with underlying health issues that makes it too difficult to wear a mask or covering as well as riders who are unable to remove or put on a mask or face covering without help. Those who need additional accommodation under Ontario’s human rights code
TTC personnel in non-public areas or those who are working behind a physical barrier or shield are also exempt from the policy.
In anticipation of the new rule, the transit agency said it was distributing a million disposable, non-medical-grade face masks (half through community agencies and half by TTC employees rotating at different stations, Wheel-Trans buses and at high-traffic bus interchanges) up until Wednesday.
“The TTC will not be enforcing the use of masks or face coverings,” the TTC posted on its website.
Mayor John Tory said he hopes there will be no need to enforce the rule, but noted all bylaws come with possible fines for infractions.
Tory said transit enforcement officers will not be asking for proof of medical exemption, and warned against any vigilante efforts to enforce the mask requirement.
“Customers who do not have a mask or face covering will still be permitted to board TTC vehicles. Not all medical or other conditions are visible.”
The previously announced policy comes two days after Toronto city council voted to temporarily require the wearing of face masks and coverings in closed public settings, including in a variety of businesses. The new bylaw will come into effect on Tuesday.
—With files from The Canadian Press