The Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) announced on July 23 that masks or face coverings will be required on buses starting Saturday, August 1.

The policy is the latest effort by MCTS to help ensure that all residents have the opportunity to travel around Milwaukee County safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health officials have said that individuals should wear a mask over their mouth and nose to help reduce the spread of COVID-19, especially when in close proximity to others.

New on-board signage will review the new policy. MCTS has taken many steps to protect its workforce and passengers over the course of the public health emergency. In addition to the new mask requirement, other procedures include:

  • A maximum of 10 passengers are allowed on a bus, to help allow for social distancing.
  • Passengers are asked to use staggered seating in order to avoid close contact with others.
  • Passengers are encouraged to wash hands, cover coughs and sneezes, stay home when sick, and limit conversations and interactions while on board.
  • Although cash is still accepted, MCTS recommends using contactless fare payment methods like the M-CARD or Ride MCTS App.
  • Passengers must enter the bus through the front door and exit via the rear door – unless the kneeling feature of the bus is needed.
  • Buses have been going through an extra daily disinfection process using EPA-approved and CDC-recommended products. That is in addition to the standard cleaning that vehicles receive on a regular basis.
  • Bus drivers are required to wear a mask and they are positioned behind an industry-leading plexiglass shield.
  • The MCTS Administration Building is closed to visitors, but staff continues to serve customers remotely and by appointment.

MCTS encourages the public to bring their own mask — as many passengers have already been doing — to help protect themselves and others while riding the bus. In cases where a passenger does not have one, MCTS is making efforts to provide free masks on buses – one per customer, while supplies last.

Individuals exempt from the mask requirement include children two years old or younger; anyone with a disability that makes it difficult to put on, wear, or remove a mask; anyone consistently interacting with a person who is hard of hearing and primarily relies on lip reading; anyone who has been advised by a medical professional not to wear a face mask because of personal health issues; anyone who has difficulty breathing or is incapacitated; or anyone whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face mask.

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Lee Matz

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