Coronavirus update: Riders must wear face coverings until further notice

Bus drivers have limited supply to provide riders

Public transportation riders must wear masks or face coverings to board and ride the bus starting 8 p.m., Fri., April 17, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

TCAT bus operators may be able to provide masks, but supplies are limited and there are no guarantees they will be available. Bus operators also have the right to refuse passengers who do not comply to project their safety and that of their riders. Those exempt include children under the age of two and those who cannot cover their faces for medical reasons. Acceptable face coverings include store-bought medical or workplace safety face masks, or those made from cloth, such as scarves, T-shirts and bandanas.

Generally, the governor’s executive order requires all New Yorkers to wear a mask or a face covering while out and about in public when it’s impossible to practice social distancing (or keeping six feet apart from others.)  However, an updated directive from the governor yesterday specifically says “those using public or private transportation carriers or any for-hire transportation service” must cover their mouths and noses “during any such trip.”

“We are asking TCAT riders to please follow Gov. Cuomo’s orders to help protect their fellow riders and bus operators as we all continue to grapple with this pandemic,” said General Manager Scot Vanderpool. “The face-covering order has enough flexibility to allow people to use materials they already own without having to spend money.”

Tompkin County officials generously provided TCAT with face mask to hand out to riders when they board. However, supplies are limited so TCAT is asking that riders make every effort to remember to bring and wear their own covering.

Since April 15, bus operators and all front-line essential workers have been required under the governor’s orders to wear face coverings while passengers are on their vehicles.

For information on how to make your own mask, go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

For more information on all state restrictions and mandated closings please go to


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