ttc face masks

TTC employees keep getting called out for not wearing face masks

At this point in the pandemic, donning 2020's hottest accessory, the mask, anytime we leave the house is now second nature.

But despite face coverings being long recommended by health officials worldwide and also mandated in indoor public settings in cities such as Toronto, some continue to forego the garment, whether it be because they just can't be bothered or because they're adamantly anti-mask.

Among those who have been caught and publicly shamed for not wearing a mask (or wearing one incorrectly) when out and about in the city is a slew of TTC employees, many of whom are definitely supposed to be sporting the piece of cloth while on the job or commuting themselves.

The transit body made face coverings obligatory for customers on July 2 after suggesting them since May, and it appears that most people are complying.

Meanwhile, workers had been having issues getting permission to wear masks at work, going as far as walking off the job because the TTC was not supplying them with adequate PPE for customer-facing positions after finally giving them the green light.

Residents have been pretty frustrated with seeing transit workers flouting Toronto's bylaw ordering that masks be worn in all indoor public spaces — especially when the commission has been pushing so hard for mask-wearing among its riders — and have been airing their grievances on social media, inundating the TTC Customer Service Twitter with their concerns.

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green says there may be some confusion around the rules for some staff, such as vehicle operators and others behind acrylic shields, do not have to wear face coverings.

"Employees are only required to wear face coverings when in areas accessible to the public or when not behind a shield, in an enclosed operating area or in a collector's booth," he says, which is consistent with Toronto's mask rules.

"We have had a few reports of employees not wearing face coverings, but most of those turn out to be in relation to operators who are isolated or behind a shield."

The TTC's Twitter account has also reminded users that some employees may have one of the few medical conditions that prevents people from being able to safely cover their face.

Green adds that the agency is doing the best they can to follow-up with all valid complaints, and is conducting "extensive outreach" to workers.

"In the very few cases where we become aware that they are not following the rule, we immediately remind them about the requirement and they comply," he says.

Citizens are also growing increasingly worried about recent overcrowding on TTC vehicles in a time when physical distancing is crucial.

More than 70 of TTC staff have tested positive for COVID-19 since the onset of the health crisis.

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