Anyone using public transportation during the COVID-19 pandemic should not just wear a mask while in transit, but they should also leave their mask on while waiting at bus stops, train stations and other hubs, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance issued on Monday.
In guidance published on the CDC website on Monday, the agency "strongly recommended" anyone using public transportation to wear masks during their rides, while waiting at transportation hubs and while boarding planes, trains and buses. The agency also said that all public transportation workers should also wear masks.
Not only did the CDC recommend all passengers be required to wear masks, the agency also said that transit workers "should refuse to board anyone not wearing a mask" and require all passengers "to wear masks for the duration of travel." The only time a passenger should remove their mask is to eat, drink, take medication, or identify oneself to a security agent.
Transit workers should also be provided with spare masks so they can give them out to riders who are not in compliance, the CDC added.
Not covered in the guidance were children under the age of two, those instructed by medical professionals to not wear a mask for health reasons, those with disabilities or mental health conditions who find wearing masks to be difficult, the deaf and hard of hearing or transit workers whose jobs and the safety of others would be jeopardized by wearing a mask.
The CDC recommends that all Americans wear masks in situations where keeping six feet distance from others is difficult. Masks limit the spread of nasal and throat droplets that carry the virus, making it less likely for an asymptomatic carrier of the virus to spread it to others.