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OCTA reminds riders of face-covering requirement and safety guidelines related to COVID-19

Since May, OCTA has distributed to passengers more than 560,000 free face-coverings, which are now federally mandated to be worn on public transit; health and safety remains OCTA’s top priority.

With the state lifting the most recent regional stay-at-home order and residents starting to receive vaccinations, the Orange County Transportation Authority is reinforcing all safety measures and complying with the recent federal Executive Order directing that masks be worn on public transit, a requirement on OC Bus since May 2020.

OCTA continues to prioritize health and safety during the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic through enhanced bus cleanings, social distancing on board, free face coverings and hand sanitizer stations on every bus.

Signs at the front buses and on board notify passengers that face coverings are required.

OCTA, with the support of the Federal Transit Administration, has distributed more than 560,000 disposable face coverings to passengers. OCTA has also worked with community partners to distribute thousands more reusable face coverings to those who most need them, including OC ACCESS paratransit riders.

“OCTA continues to take all necessary measures to protect the health and safety of the public and our employees,” said OCTA Chair Andrew Do, also the First District Supervisor. “The OC Bus system is critical for the public to get to essential jobs and medical appointments, so OCTA wants to ensure that all passengers wear face coverings for the health of our county’s most vulnerable, and our economy.”

While the state recently lifted the stay-at-home order that had been in place since December, Orange County remains in the most restrictive Purple Tier on California’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

OCTA was quick to respond to the COVID-19 crisis and has remained flexible since March 2020, making changes to public transit while moving forward on needed freeway, street and transit projects promised to voters through Measure M, the county’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.

OCTA is also assisting the county’s Health Care Agency and emergency operations efforts in plans to respond to the public health crisis. Earlier this month, OCTA provided a bus to shuttle medical staff from the Disneyland super site to a smaller clinic for seniors in Santa Ana to receive vaccinations. OCTA stands ready to help with additional transportation, as needed.

Other health measures taken by OCTA during the pandemic have included transitioning more than 500 administrative employees to work remotely, installing Plexiglas driver shields as a barrier between coach operators and passengers – all to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Changes to bus operations and transportation projects are being regularly communicated to the public in multiple languages, including English, Spanish and Vietnamese. OCTA’s efforts include riders’ alerts, onboard information, emails, website update, press releases and social media posts.

OCTA is also actively responding to public comments through OCTA’s Customer Information Center and social media. The OCTA Customer Service Line is 714-636-7433.

More information on bus service is available online at www.ocbus.com.

About OCTA

The Orange County Transportation Authority is the county transportation planning commission, responsible for funding and implementing transit and capital projects for a balanced and sustainable transportation system that reflects the diverse travel needs of the county’s 34 cities and 3.2 million residents. With the mission of keeping Orange County moving, this includes freeways and express lanes, bus and rail transit, rideshare, commuter rail, environmental programs and active transportation.

2 Comments

  1. Masks do not work. Masks are just for control. In a store I take it off and employees must be told not to get involved with customers not wearing a mask because no one bothers me. If someone wants to wear a mask that is fine. But don’t tell me to wear a mask. No thank you.

    1. Regina,

      Thank you for reading Orange County Breeze, and for taking the time to comment on this article.

      Setting aside the question of whether masks are effective at slowing the spread of COVID-19, your refusal to wear a mask in locations that are required to enforce mask-wearing opens the establishment to fines or other punitive measures at the local, State, and federal level. A complaint against the establishment could be lodged by anyone, not just an employee.

      For example, a hair salon could have its license revoked and a fine imposed. Will you pay the fine? Will you argue on behalf of the hair salon at the State licensing board?

      Go ahead and don’t wear a mask, but please realize that you are placing other people in a no-win situation while asserting your individual freedom.

      Again, thank you for reading Orange County Breeze.

      Shelley Henderson
      editor, Orange County Breeze

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