NEW YORK — The MTA is beginning to outfit their employees with N95 masks to help stop the spread of coronavirus while remaining essential employees.
The most masks will go to subway workers, who are being given 159,000 of the protective masks. LIRR employees will get 40,429. Metro-North workers get 36,357 and bridge and tunnel workers will get 12,249.
“We continue to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of the 74,000 of hardworking men and women who are keeping New York moving through this difficult time,” said Patrick J. Foye, MTA Chairman and CEO, who himself has tested positive for the virus.
“The MTA will be distributing N95 masks to our heroic workforce and masks will be cleaned and reused. Transit workers are among the heroes of this pandemic and this personal protective equipment will help keep them safe as they perform their essential work. We are also strongly recommending that all essential employees: healthcare workers, first responders and others who travel with us and use public transportation during this pandemic cover their nose and mouth."
“This is great news for our bus operators, train operators, train conductors and all the other Local 100 members who are keeping the buses and trains moving," Tony Utano, President of TWU Local 100 said. "They are true blue-collar heroes.”
“Although CDC and others have said that mask are not recommended when healthy, this is welcomed news for our frontline employees who are the heartbeat of our system,” said Anthony Simon, General Chairman, SMART-UTU Transportation Division, Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Union. “They will give our conductors and all frontline members a little more comfort while performing essential transportation to keep Long Island and New York moving as safe as possible. I am proud of our LIRR workforce.”
“The men and women of Metro-North are keeping the region moving during this crisis, and today’s announcement represents a welcome effort to keep them safe and healthy as they perform their essential work,” said F. Christophe Silvera, Secretary-Treasurer of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 808.