April 3, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The MTA is boosting its weekly supply of masks to its frontline workers to 100,000 masks per week.
The announcement comes at a time when 16 MTA workers have now died due to complications from the virus and 744 MTA staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The agency said 4,229 employees are now in quarantine.
The MTA said the move will provide extra safety and comfort to its workers who are providing the public with essential services during the coronavirus shutdown.
Workers from New York City Transit, MTA Bus Company, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and MTA Bridges and Tunnels will be supplied with the masks, the MTA said. However, the MTA said that it is not company policy to require its employees to wear the masks.
The agency said it distributed 75,000 masks to its staff last week and has disseminated around 240,000 masks in total since March 1.
The MTA said it had also distributed 3.2 million gloves to its employees since the crisis began.
“The continued distribution of masks is great news for the men and women of the MTA, who are heroes for the work they are doing on the frontlines of this pandemic,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO.
“It is our hope and our mission to continue to provide this critical protective equipment going forward,” he said.
.The MTA is also appealing to customers to wear masks or scarves while using their services.
In addition, the MTA said Tuesday that it has distributed 45,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, 50,000 gallons of cleaning supplies and 7,000 boxes of sanitizing wipes to its workers since the pandemic began.
Further, the MTA has announced a range of new measures to reduce workers exposure to the virus.
Crew numbers have been reduced, cash transactions have been eliminated and local and select bus routes are now rear-door boarding in order to allow its drivers to safely socially distance from passengers.