All Metrolinx staff to wear face masks starting next week

May 8 2020, 12:56 pm

Starting on Monday, Metrolinx staff will be wearing face masks, to “protect those around them” as the COVID-19 pandemic continues and retail business begin to open.

On Friday, Metrolinx Senior Manager of Media, Anne Marie Aikins, confirmed the new safety development.

“Our crew members are out there ensuring essential workers can get to the front line. Thank you for your service and dedication. Our staff will all be wearing face coverings, beginning Monday, to protect everyone around them.”

This latest safety measure comes after the agency installed plexiglass shielding in buses, sectioned off seating on trains to ensure physical distancing and stopped accepting cash fares.

To date, the agency has had five confirmed and four probable cases of coronavirus among its staff.

Also on Friday, the TTC union, ATU Local 113, which represents 12,000 employees, called on the City of Toronto to ensure transit riders wear mandatory face masks or coverings while riding local public transit.

The union’s reasoning is that once the 15% cut in transit service is made on Sunday,  May 10, certain TTC routes will be overcrowded increasing the risk of spreading the virus.

“The math is straightforward — as more businesses reopen, more people will be taking public transit with less TTC vehicles on the road,” Carlos Santos, ATU Local 113 president said.

“The City of Toronto must protect workers and the public by making face coverings mandatory on the TTC.”

On Monday, retail businesses in Ontario that have street access will open again to allow for curbside pick-up.

As businesses gradually reopen, the union is calling on greater protections for the frontline transit workers.