In its latest step to support the health of employees and customers, Metro will begin distributing washable, reusable cloth facemasks to frontline staff beginning Saturday, April 11. Metro also is encouraging members of the public to wear face coverings when riding public transit to help limit the spread of novel coronavirus.

These steps follow the recent recommendation from health officials that people wear cloth face coverings when they are in public settings where they cannot maintain six feet of distance from others.

Wearing a face covering of any kind will be voluntary—for drivers and riders. Some drivers already have adopted the habit of wearing their own face coverings while they continue to move essential workers and passengers reliant on transit for access to food and medicine.

Metro will distribute two masks to each of the 4,100 identified frontline workers—one for wearing and one for washing. These face coverings are not intended to replace other safety measures to limit the spread of the virus.

Maintaining six feet of physical distance from non-household members and performing frequent hand hygiene with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer are the most important ways to protect yourself from COVID-19.

What can the mask do? The cloth reusable mask issued to Metro frontline staff is able to reduce exposure to dust, allergens, germs, and bodily fluids, and helps the user comply with CDC guidance. However, the mask is not a respirator and will not eliminate the risk of contracting disease or infection. The primary benefit of wearing a face covering is not to the wearer, but to others. Wearing a mask complements and does not replace other guidance related to personal hygiene, which remain the cornerstone of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Metro will continue to disinfect buses and other transit vehicles daily, and disinfect high-touch areas of bases and work sites twice daily.

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