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Citilink Face Covering Policies Update

By February 4, 2021October 26th, 2023No Comments

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Requirement for Face Masks on Public Transportation Conveyances and at Transportation Hubs

Traveling on public transportation increases a person’s risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 by bringing people in close contact with others, often for prolonged periods, and exposing them to frequently touched surfaces. Air travel often requires spending time in security lines and busy airport terminals. Travel by bus, train, and other conveyances used for international, interstate, or intrastate transportation poses similar challenges. Staying 6 feet away from others is often difficult on public transportation. People may not be able to distance themselves by the recommended at least 6 feet from other people seated nearby or from those standing in or passing through the aisles on airplanes, trains, or buses.

Travel has led—and continues to lead to—interstate and international spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Wearing masks that completely cover the mouth and nose reduce the spread of COVID-19. People who never develop symptoms (asymptomatic) or are not yet showing symptoms (pre-symptomatic) might not know that they are infected but can still spread COVID-19 to others. Masks also offer protection to the wearer.

CDC has issued an order that requires face masks to be worn by all travelers while on public transportation (which includes all passengers and all personnel operating conveyances). People must wear masks that completely cover both the mouth and nose while awaiting, boarding, disembarking, or traveling on airplanes, ships, ferries, trains, subways, buses, taxis, and ride-shares as they are traveling into, within, or out of the United States and U.S. territories. People must also wear masks while at transportation hubs (e.g., airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, seaports) and other locations where people board public transportation in the United States and U.S. territories.

Operators of public conveyances and transportation hubs must use best efforts to ensure that any person on the conveyance wears a mask when boarding, disembarking, and for the duration of travel or while entering or on the premises of the transportation hub. Depending on the circumstances, operators must take the following actions:

  • Board/allow entry only people who wear masks;
  • instruct people that wearing a mask on the conveyance/premises is a requirement of federal law and that not complying with the requirement is a violation of federal law;
  • monitor the conveyance/premises for any person who is not wearing a mask and seek compliance from such a person;
  • at the earliest safe opportunity, disembark/remove from premises any person who refuses to comply; and
  • notify people of the requirement to make sure they aware of and comply with the requirement to wear a mask. Examples of such notifications are messaging in apps, on websites or through email; posters in multiple languages with illustrations; and printing the information on tickets.

People are not required to wear a mask under the following circumstances:

  • while eating, drinking, or taking medication for brief periods of time;
  • while communicating, for brief periods of time, with a person who is hearing impaired when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • if, on an aircraft, wearing of oxygen masks is needed because of loss of cabin pressure or other event affecting aircraft ventilation;
  • if unconscious (for reasons other than sleeping), incapacitated, unable to be awakened, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance; or • when necessary to temporarily remove the mask to verify one’s identity such as during Transportation Security Administration (TSA) screening or when asked to do so by the ticket or gate agent or any law enforcement official.

The following categories of people are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask: • A child under the age of 2 years;

  • A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, for reasons related to the disability;
  • A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations. People on board the following categories of conveyances are exempt from the requirement to wear a mask:
  • Private conveyances operated only for personal, non-commercial use;
  • Commercial motor vehicles or trucks, if the driver is the only person in the vehicle or truck;
  • Conveyances operated by the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) as long as the operator of the conveyance follows all DOD requirements to prevent spread of COVID-19.

On November 2, 2020, Citilink received a notice from the Allen County Department of Health stating as follows:

Per the Governor’s recent Executive Order 20-43 “every individual within the State of Indiana shall wear a face covering over the nose and mouth when inside a business, public building, or other indoor places open to the public. This does not extend, however, to private offices, private workspaces or meeting in which 6 feet of social distancing can be achieved and maintained between people not in the same household.

In response, Citilink Management and the Union Executive Committee met on November 13, 2020. At the meeting, the parties acknowledged and agreed upon the following information:

Passengers must wear masks unless one of the following applies:

  • a child under the age of 2 (masks should NOT be worn by children under the age of 2);
  • a person with written instructions from a licensed medical provider to not wear a mask;
  • a person with a disability, mental health condition, or sensory sensitivity that prevents that person from wearing a mask;
  • a person who is hearing impaired, or communicating with someone who is hearing impaired, when the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication;
  • a person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations; or
  • a person operating or essential to operating a conveyance for whom wearing a mask would interfere with that person’s ability to safely operate the conveyance.

If a passenger claims to have a disability, mental health condition, or sensory sensitivity that prevents that person from wearing a mask, Operators may not ask for proof or documentation. The Operator must accept the individual’s explanation and allow them to board the bus. However, if a passenger refuses to wear a mask not included in the exceptions below, the Operator may deny the passenger access to the bus or ask the passenger to leave the bus. The safety of Operators is a top priority for Citilink. If at any time an Operator feels that their safety, or the safety of their passengers, is in danger they should immediately call dispatch and/or 911.

Following the Governor’s Executive Order, as well as guidance from the CDC, IOSHA, and the Department of Health, it is the policy of Citilink that all employees are required to wear a face covering as outlined below:

a. Operators
Face coverings are required to be worn at all times while on Citilink property and/or when interacting with the public.

Face coverings can be removed when driving/operating if passengers are at least 6 feet from the Operator, the curtain is closed and the window is vented.

Face coverings can also be removed when on break, outside of the bus and 6 feet from all passengers. If a passenger approaches while you are on break, you should remind the passenger of the Governor’s Executive Order and ask them to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from the Operator.

b. All other Employees
Face coverings are required at all times while on Citilink property and/or when interacting with the public unless you are able to maintain 6 feet of social distancing from others and/or are alone in your office. This means you must wear a face covering in all common areas, including, but not limited to, hallways, restrooms and break areas. If you are in a break area and will be eating you may remove your face covering to eat and drink, but you must replace your face covering as soon as you are finished.

Please note that failure to wear a face covering as outlined above will be treated as a Safety Violation and result in a Step Two Warning as outlined on page 74 of Citilink Personnel Policies and Standards.

If you have any questions about the directives in this memo, or if you would like a copy of the Executive Orders, article from Center of Disease Control, or previous related memos mentioned above, please contact your supervisor or a member of management.