Responding to evolving guidance from public health officials and the feedback of drivers and other frontline employees, King County Metro strongly urges all customers to wear a mask or face covering while using public transportation. Masks or face coverings help protect the wearer, other passengers, and Metro employees.
There are many kinds of face coverings—including bandannas, disposable masks, scarves, veils, and others—that are useful in preventing the spread of COVID-19. They should be worn both onboard transit and while waiting at stops and terminals. Customers can follow tips from the CDC on how to make their own face coverings.
Customers will begin to see stronger encouragement to wear masks and face coverings in multiple languages on transit through advertising, on-board announcements and signs, social media posts, transit alert emails and texts, and elsewhere. Health officials recommend wearing cloth face coverings when in public settings where six feet of distance from others cannot be maintained. In response to this guidance, Metro has supported operators’ and customers’ use of masks or face coverings.
Previously, Metro had asked passengers to consider wearing a face covering. 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 provides two washable, reusable cloth face coverings to every operator and other frontline employee. Employees working with chemicals and cleaning supplies, such as in our Vehicle Maintenance department, receive personal protective equipment prescribed for the given task.
Customers are also reminded to please reserve transit for first-responders, medical personnel, other essential workers, and people who rely on Metro for access to food, medicine, and similarly essential needs. Especially as Metro is operating a Reduced Schedule and while steps are being taken to ensure social distancing, space is at a premium to preserve room to safely conduct essential trips.
In addition to actions related to masks and requests that customers reserve transit for essential travel, Metro has taken a number of actions in response to COVID-19 guided by the expertise of Public Health – Seattle & King County:
- Strongly recommending that employees who are high-risk stay home to protect their health and strengthening our paid leave policies;
- Increasing the frequency of disinfecting and deep-cleaning of transit vehicles, boats, and facilities;
- Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) to our employees;
- Sharing health recommendations for staying safe—including information to help destigmatize novel coronavirus;
- Minimizing driver-to-passenger interaction by directing riders to board at rear doors if they are able, eliminating fares, and installing safety straps;
- Assembling a cleaning task force dedicated to rapid response and continuous improvement;
- Redeploying security personnel to support safety and social distancing on transit and at terminals; and
- Promoting social distancing at bases and worksites, and onboard our vehicles and boats.
- King County Metro Transit
- Public Health
- Other King County services