Metro’s pandemic task force is looking at the possibility of requiring anyone who rides the bus to wear a face mask, leaders told News4.
Transit workers across the region are increasingly nervous about their exposure to the virus. Metro has 24 confirmed cases of coronavirus so far. Nine cases are among bus operators.
Reporter Adam Tuss and the News4 team are covering you down on the roads and in transit.
“I know that you all are scared. I’m scared. I know your families and loved ones are also scared for you. But it’s our job,” Raymond Jackson of ATU Local 689 said to union members.
Metro buses are still carrying about 100,000 riders per day. That’s nearly three times as many people than are riding Metrorail.
A number of bus operators have reached out to News4, pleading for help to be protected from the virus. Metro has taken steps to protect bus operators, including having riders board at the back of buses and equipping all buses with Plexiglas barriers that protect the operators.
But employees say gloves, masks and hand sanitizer have not been widely distributed.
Metro Chief Safety Officer Teresa Impastato said the transit agency has been trying to separate riders from front-line workers.
“In consistency with the guidelines of the CDC and OSHA, transit workers do not perform the types of tasks that would be well-served by protection with gloves and masks,” she said.
“We’ve worked to ensure that our employees aren’t in positions where they are going to be in close contact with numerous individuals,” she went on to say.