If you’ll be riding SEPTA, wear a mask. If you’ll be parking in the city, get back in the habit of feeding your meter.
The new mask rule goes into effect Monday for the public transportation agency as the region begins its first full week in the initial yellow stage of reopening.
SEPTA is requiring all riders to wear face masks or coverings to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. In announcing the move on Friday, agency officials said they anticipated more people taking public transportation starting this week, and riders have told them a masking requirement would make them more comfortable returning to trains, buses, subways, and trolleys.
Meanwhile, the PPA will begin enforcing parking meters again in Center City and University City next Monday, June 15, one week later than originally scheduled. Citywide enforcement will resume June 22.
In April, SEPTA briefly had a masking requirement, but it ended after a video circulated of a man being dragged off a bus, allegedly for not complying.
Since then, most SEPTA riders have been wearing masks, which until Monday were “strongly urged,” General Manager Leslie S. Richards said Friday. SEPTA Police will not enforce the policy, but mask-less people will be reminded they are required to wear one.
SEPTA makes clear the move doesn’t mandate that customers go out and buy masks.
“Customers can use any type of cloth material that covers the mouth and nose, such as a bandanna,” the agency said in a release. “Face coverings can also be made using items people have in their homes, such as an old shirt.” At certain customer service locations, masks will be available to riders who need them, Richards said Friday.
The agency already has social-distancing measures in place and has enhanced cleaning protocols.
The new policy comes three days after the Philadelphia region entered the yellow phase of reopening. In yellow, retail stores and child-care centers can reopen with restrictions, and outdoor dining is permitted at restaurants in some areas. The stay-at-home order is lifted, and people may gather in groups of up to 25. Employees may be called back to their offices if remote work isn’t possible.
In the Philadelphia region, the restart was slow and cautious, with some retailers choosing not to open immediately out of concern that customers weren’t yet comfortable leaving their home.