No mask mandate yet for NYC, but a look at public transport shows that compliance there is declining

Local News

NEW YORK — Despite increased calls by some officials for a mask mandate to be reinstated in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio indicated on Monday that it will not be happening.  

Also on Monday, it was evident that even in the few places where masks are still required indoors, getting everyone to comply is a challenge.

Masks are required in health care facilities, schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters, and on public transportation and in transportation facilities.

Still, the latest survey by the MTA shows that compliance on the subway, on buses, and in subway stations, is decreasing.

In April 2021, the survey found that 90 percent of subway riders wore masks on the subway during the morning rush hour.  In the most recent check, the MTA found that only 71 percent of riders wore masks.

On city buses, the mask wearing rate dropped from 91 percent in April, down to 84 percent at last check, which was in late June.

On the subway on Monday, PIX11 News saw a situation consistent with the MTA survey.  

Even though every station, and most trains, have multiple signs posted showing that masks are required, about two of every 10 riders did not have a mask on.

One woman sat on a seat on the No. 4 train, in front of a sign that said that masks are required.  

“I just forgot my mask, that’s all,” she said.

The MTA says that any rider can get a free mask at any station booth.  

As for the city adopting a requirement that masks be worn by everyone — whether vaccinated or not — indoors, Mayor de Blasio was blunt.

“No,” he said at his daily media briefing.  “Simple answer is no.”

Both the mayor and Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said that there’s no plan to require masks indoors while hospitalization rates in the five boroughs remain low.

“Let’s address the problem by getting more people vaccinated,” the mayor said.

Meanwhile, people who spoke with PIX11 about the idea of a mask mandate gave mixed reactions.

“It could be an option for people, and it’s a choice but it shouldn’t be a requirement,” Fidel Molina said.

Another woman said that she didn’t mind.

“It’s not like we’re being required.to wear big heavy sweaty helmets, padding and all that,” she said.  “It’s just a mask.”

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