Disability groups gather in Times Square to advocate for mask mandates
Volunteers and advocates from the organization, Bona Fide Masks, and various disability groups gathered yesterday at the 42nd Street Times Square subway station to hand out masks and personal protective equipment to New Yorkers.
As mask restrictions have eased, groups like this want to remind the public of the ongoing threat of COVID-19.
"Currently in the subways, there are people who need to use public transportation as their sole means of getting to and from work and wherever else they may need to go. And oftentimes, these folks are at risk and wearing masks can slow the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases," said James Grandefeld, the COO of Bona Fide Masks.
As of Sept. 7, 2022, masks are optional for those riding subways, buses, or commuter rails. These groups are calling on Mayor Eric Adams, Gov. Kathy Hochul and the MTA to reinstate mask requirements for public transportation.
In response, MTA spokesperson Meghan Keegan said in a statement, “We continue to encourage riders to wear masks when traveling on public transit.”
Bona Fide Masks, who exclusively distribute Kn95 masks, says it wants to be a trusted source for people for those who need it. "Last month, we were in the city passing out masks to various shelters and in the second half of last year, we pledged to donate 1.5 million masks to various charities across the United States," said Grandefield.
The CDC still does recommend mask wearing in areas with high transmission, if you're at high risk or you have come into contact with someone who is at high risk of getting very sick.