MBTA upping enforcement of face mask requirement

Employees directed to confront maskless passengers

THE MBTA is upping enforcement of its face-mask requirement, requiring employees to confront passengers who are not wearing coverings that cover the nose and mouth.

The T previously required passengers to wear masks, using frequent on-board announcements to remind them. Enforcement, however, was based primarily on the honor system, in part because anyone claiming a medical condition was allowed to ride unmasked.

In early May, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said he wanted the wearing of face masks to be the norm but indicated the T wasn’t going to get heavy handed. “We won’t be refusing rides to people who are not wearing face masks,” he said at the time.

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Bruce Mohl

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About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

Under a new gubernatorial order that took effect Friday morning, all people over the age of 5 are required to wear face masks in areas open to the public, including public transportation. The T is directing employees to confront people not wearing masks to remind them of the order. If they refuse to comply, employees are being asked to report the situation to superiors who will then coordinate with Transit Police officers, who can issue civil fines of $300.

The governor’s order still allows people to go maskless if they claim a medical exemption. The governor’s order doesn’t require them to produce proof of their condition. Under the governor’s order, only employers and schools can demand proof from employees and students who claim a medical exemption.

Jim Evers, president of the Boston Carmen’s Union, which represents the bulk of T employees, could not immediately be reached for comment.