(Bloomberg) — The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said it will start issuing $50 fines to people not wearing face coverings at its airports, Manhattan bus terminals and subways.
Since March, the agency has used posters, public-service announcements and other means “to make travelers aware of the health and safety protocols” amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Starting Monday, travelers “could be liable for the new recommended fine of $50,” according to a news release.
The mandate comes as New York and New Jersey are trying to prevent a second wave of the novel coronavirus as case and hospitalization figures rise. New York City alone has reported almost 24,000 virus-related deaths, about two-thirds of the state’s total.
“The Port Authority will continue to put primary emphasis on voluntary compliance,” the statement read.
The move follows a similar $50 fee that New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the largest U.S. mass-transit system, began Sept. 14 for riders on subways, buses and commuter-rail lines who declined to wear a mask.
The Port Authority operates John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty, LaGuardia, Stewart and Teterboro airports, plus two Manhattan bus terminals and the PATH subway system. Its properties are key to New York City commuting, in addition to international travel.
In 2019 alone, PATH trains handled 82.2 million passengers, according to agency data. Its midtown bus terminal, the nation’s largest, on a typical weekday serves 225,000 people, many commuting from the New Jersey suburbs.
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