The US Department of Transportation is taking steps to help passengers to protect themselves when travelling, with the agency preparing to distribute nearly 100 million face coverings.
The face coverings will be distributed across multiple transit modes including:
- 86.8 million coverings will be distributed to airports
- 9.6 million coverings will be distributed to 458 transit agencies and Amtrak for passenger use.
The move by the US Department of Transportation, along with the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, states authorities, industries, and stakeholders are to ensure that the travelling public has access to cloth facial coverings.
The cloth facial coverings secured by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will be sent to airports, transit agencies, and Amtrak over the coming weeks through the U.S. Postal Service. These face coverings are in addition to the 15 million already announced for critical infrastructure workers in the transportation sector.
Being cloth coverings, they are reusable (and a lot more recyclable than the single-use ones that end up in the bin, or on the floor of a street somewhere).
However, just because the government is distributing 100 million extra masks, it doesn’t mean you should travel without one. Passengers are still responsible for having their personal facial covering per existing guidance from airlines, airports, transit agencies, and passenger rail authorities.
With that in mind, the cloth facial coverings announced by the Department of Transport are intended to be supplemental. Availability at these locations is not guaranteed (so don’t rely on getting a free cloth face covering at an airport or your Subway stop).
FEMA (The Federal Emergency Management Agencies further information on the mask distribution at https://www.fema.gov/news-release/2020/04/28/distribution-cloth-facial-coverings-non-healthcare-sector.
U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said
“This Administration is committed to protecting our people and reopening the economy; distributing these facial coverings will help boost public confidence as we begin to resume our normal lives,”
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