With the summer season over, more and more people are headed back to work.
That will require commuters to trust the public transit system to get them where they need to go - without risk of contracting coronavirus.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has already issued an executive order requiring subway and bus riders to wear masks to stop the spread of the virus. Now, he’s signing another one, which will slap people with a $50 fine if they don't.
“Mask compliance on the MTA system is very, very high," Cuomo said. "It’s roughly 90%. But we want to make sure that people feel comfortable coming back to public transportation.”
The new policy takes effect Monday. It is expected to be enforced by MTA police, the NYPD and bridge and tunnel officers.
Critics have been skeptical whether officers - specifically the NYPD - will devote time to actually enforcing the regulation.
Transit leaders say they expect straphangers to comply.
“The reality is we’ve brought lots of rules and regulations in our system," said New York City Transit Authority President Sarah Feinberg. "People have to pay the fare, you can’t smoke, you can’t drink, you’re not supposed to litter, so all of those things. So this is just another rule and regulation that will exist in our system."
The new enforcement will also apply to MTA transit systems outside the city, including Metro-North and the Long Island Railroad.
“Look, the science is in on this, we know that masks keep our workers safe, our riders safe, our customers safe," said Feinberg. "We know if you wear a mask you are protecting yourself and you are protecting your fellow riders.”
In statement, TWU local 100, representing 41,000 transit workers, praised the new enforcement mechanism calling it "good news for both transit workers and riders.‘“