SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – While facemasks have been required on UTA trains and buses since January, some UTA riders aren’t complying with mask regulations.
Carl Arky, the spokesman for the UTA tells ABC4 it has been a challenge to enforce the rules.
“The CDC is supposed to drop those guidelines, but the world is changing, even as we speak right now but we’ll have to see what the CDC says and see if they are going to extend it or lift the restrictions,” Arky explains.
On January 29, the CDC issued an order requiring “masks to be worn by all people while on public transportation (which included all passengers and all personnel operating conveyances) traveling into, within, or out of the United States and U.S. territories.”
“We are really asking the public to help us help you by complying with the CDC regulations and wear a mask whenever you are riding a bus or a train,” says Arky.
All of the trains and buses are labeled with signage on the doors noting facemasks are required.
“UTA is probably a reflection of what we are seeing in society and in general right now; the fatigue of wearing masks,” Arky says.
Doctors and health experts agree masks are the second-best line of defense behind the Covid-19 vaccine. With the delta variant spreading quickly, they suggest people wear N95 masks due to its ability to keep germs and viruses out better than cloth or one-time use masks.
Arky explains it’s almost impossible to force the mask-wearing and he is not, and will not, ask UTA employees to be law enforcement and force people to wear masks.
He added they are allowed to refuse someone a ride because they aren’t wearing a mask, but UTA offers them on the trains and buses to prevent having to do so.
“It does put them in a difficult situation which is why we are asking the public please, these people are just doing their job,” pleads Arky. “Let’s make this easier on everybody and let’s just put a mask on.”
Arky said he would love 100% compliance but knows that is not going to happen.
The UTA masks guidelines will be in place at least until September or until the CDC gives a specific date.