Coronavirus

MBTA to distribute face masks during rush hour

The new service is backed by New Balance, which donated 100,000 masks.

Screens encouraging MBTA riders to wear masks, socially distance and practice good hygiene are displayed at the South Station Red Line stop. Erin Clark / The Boston Globe, File

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The MBTA began offering face masks to riders on Monday in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19 as cases continue to rise. The agency has required riders to wear a face covering since May 6. The new service is backed by New Balance, the Boston-based shoe company, which donated 100,000 masks.

Masks will be distributed by Transit Police, Transit Ambassadors and MBTA customer service agents. They will be offered during peak travel periods (6:30-9 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. on weekdays) at Charles/MGH, Downtown Crossing, Forest Hills, Hynes Convention Center, Maverick, Orient Heights, Park Street and Quincy Center stations.

On Nov. 2, Governor Charlie Baker revised his executive order to require anyone older than 5 to wear a face covering in public, including while social distancing. The order authorizes Transit Police to fine maskless passengers up to $300 per violation.

“Wearing a face covering is one of the most effective ways to combat the virus,” MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a news release. “We ask that riders do their part by wearing face coverings while within the MBTA system and distancing while on public transit.”

“Transit Police are happy to have the resources available to assist passengers in need of a face covering,” MBTA Transit Police Chief Kenneth Green said in the release. “As our region enters a second phase of the pandemic, it is more important now to be properly wearing a face covering when you are outside the confines of your home, and especially while you are traveling on public transit.”

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