Mask mandate starts today for RTC bus passengers, other public transit

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Centers for Disease Control recommends that people avoid non-essential travel. But for people who must travel, the Southern Nevada Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) is doing all it can to make sure COVID-19 isn’t spreading.

Last year, the CDC issued guidance strongly encouraging people to wear face coverings when using ground transportation. Late Friday night, an order was published outlining mask requirements for people inside transportation hubs, as well as on public transportation including airplanes, trains, buses and taxis.

The order went into effect today. It applies to both passengers and employees.

Angela Castro is the RTC’s chief for strategy, policy and marketing. Castro says the RTC takes their responsibility very seriously in helping to ensure the health and safety of passengers, contractors and staff.

The RTC has invested more than $14 million to support and promote the safety of drivers and passengers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The RTC has distributed more than 9,000 masks to the public to date.

RTC outlined some enforcement procedures already in place:

  • If a customer refuses to wear a mask and does not state they have a medical condition or that they can’t wear a mask, officers may refuse to let them ride or enter a facility.
  • If a rider removes their mask after they enter a vehicle, the operator will focus on the safety of operating the vehicle and will call dispatch to send an officer for support.

RTC passenger Darlene Smith supports the mask mandate.

“With the mask, it’s very important right now because it lessens the virus,” Smith said. “Because I did have the virus last year so I know what it feels like. And I don’t want no one to go through that, so I been there. So I think the mask is very important.”

In support of the CDC order and President Joe Biden’s executive order, the Transit Security Administration issued a security directive in which they outlined the requirement to “properly” wear a face mask while using air or surface passenger transportation.

The requirement will remain effective until May 11.

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