The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is reportedly looking at mask-only cars in light of concerns about the potential ramifications for mask enforcement.
Masks were made optional by Metrorail, Metrobus, and MetroAccess in April after a Trump-appointed federal judge ruled that the federal mask rule was illegal under the Biden administration. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA), therefore, suspended enforcement.
“Our mask mandate has been based on federal guidance,” General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld said at the time.
” We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds. However, masks will remain optional on Metro property up until further notice,” he stated.
But, during a board meeting on Thursday, Theresa Impastato, Chief Safety Officer at WMATA confirmed that WMATA is investigating the possibility of a car with a mask.
When asked if such was being considered, Impastato said, “That is something that we’re actively looking into.”
” We’ve talked to New Jersey Transit about a mask-only option,” she stated, explaining that there are concerns about mask enforcement.
” We have concerns about the enforcement of the mask only car and how it could create conflict among our customers,” she stated. “The quiet car [on Amtrak], has a long history of conflict there .”
According to DCist, safety concerns remain the primary issue as officials struggle with the fear that such enforcement would cause a rise in violence or assault:
WMATA is having to balance other several health and safety concerns. The injury rate for Metrorail employees is 3.7 per 100 people, and 13 per 100 people for Metrobus employees, as of the current fiscal year to date. Assaults and threats are