2022 | Coronavirus

Masks still required on Ride On buses as CDC extends mandate on planes, transit

County evaluating whether to continue mask requirements beyond federal mandate

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Users of the county’s bus system will be required to keep wearing masks on Ride On buses through early May, under an extension the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Wednesday. 

The CDC said the mask mandate for planes and all forms of transit will be extended through May 3. For Montgomery County commuters, that means face coverings will be required on all Metro trains and buses, along with county Ride On buses.

Montgomery County Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard told reporters during a news briefing the county hasn’t decided whether to extend its transit mask mandate past when the federal one ends. 

Stoddard said a lot would depend on the COVID-19 transmission level and other conditions, and what WMATA — which operates Metro buses and trains — decides to do.

There has generally been good compliance with the mandate on buses countywide, Stoddard said. He added that masks are provided on Ride On buses if people don’t have one. 

James Bridgers, the county’s acting health officer, said there is clear signage on county buses saying a face covering is needed.

The compliance rate isn’t 100%, Stoddard said, but there are few, if any, cases of bus riders being kicked off because of failing to comply.

In general, mask use has remained steady in many public settings, he said.

“We still see a pretty good number of people wearing them in grocery stores,” Stoddard said. “And so, I think Montgomery County is a little bit different than most other jurisdictions, in that we have a highly educated and generally pretty conscientious population.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com