DC Metro to require face masks

DC Metro to require face masks
© Greg Nash

Washington, D.C.’s, Metro will require riders on all trains and buses to wear face masks, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld announced Thursday.

The rules, which will take effect Monday, will apply throughout the Metro system, including in Virginia and Maryland, and masks must be worn in stations as well, Wiedefeld said at a Thursday board meeting, according to a D.C.-area NBC affiliate.

The rules will apply to Metrorail, Metrobus, Circulator buses and MARC trains.

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Separate rules on masks specific to the city will take effect Saturday, and will require masks in taxis and rideshare vehicles and for any essential business or travel that brings residents in contact with others.

Children under 9 are exempt from the rules, as are those experiencing homelessness and people with a medical condition or disability that keeps them from putting on or removing a mask.

Exemptions will also be allowed for people engaging in outdoor recreation like jogging, as long as they are able to maintain social distance.

D.C. has struggled with rising cases of the virus even as Maryland and Virginia begin tentative plans for reopening, and the D.C. suburbs of both states have been exempted from the reopenings due to a similarly rising number of cases.

On Wednesday, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) announced she would extend a stay-at-home order originally set to expire Friday through at least June 8, citing failure to meet the benchmarks for reopening.

“We're not there yet and not quite ready to begin that phased new opening,” Bowser said Wednesday.

D.C., when compared with U.S. states, has the sixth-highest per-person rate of the virus, with 933 cases per 100,000 residents. However, the city has seen four consecutive days of declining new cases. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines call for a 14-day period of declines before beginning the reopening process.