Face masks no longer required on BART as mandate expires

ByLeslie Brinkley via KGO logo
Tuesday, July 19, 2022
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Starting Monday, you'll no longer have to wear a mask when riding BART in the San Francisco Bay Area.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Wearing a mask is no longer required on BART.

You'll recall, BART followed federal, state and local mandates and lifted its mask requirement back in April.

A week later the BART board voted to reinstate the mask mandate, which expired Monday.

"We think if this were done at a region-wide level it would be much more effective," explained BART board member Rebecca Saltzman. "BART doing it on its own was effective in the beginning but it's becoming less and less effective as time goes on as nowhere else is requiring it."

Riders we spoke with were split on the move.

While some plan to keep their masks on, due to rising cases of the extremely contagious BA.5 subvariant, others felt fine with the mandate expiring.

"It should be optional at this point. People are already getting four vaccines, 4 shots," explained Jay Pereta.

"I think COVID isn't completely over, so I think it's smart to kind of still stay safe and still wear your mask," BART rider Natalia Fields said.

UCSF's Dr. George Rutherford is still urging riders to wear their mask.

"This is not the time to do it especially in closed indoor environments like BART," said Rutherford. "I take BART to work nearly everyday and I can tell you during commute hours you have to stand. It's that tight in there."

BART says it could reinstate the mandate at any time.

They plan to discuss that topic at their next board meeting on July 28.

In the meantime, free masks will still be available for anyone who wants one at all station agent booths, and from all safety staff.

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