It's official, the TTC board has voted in favour of making face masks mandatory for all passengers riding on Toronto public transit.

The new policy will come into effect on July 2, with the exemption of kids under two and those with underlying conditions or who are unable to put on/remove a mask without assistance.

READ: How to Make Your Own Non-Medical Face Mask at Home

Mandatory face coverings are just one element of a number of safety measures that the TTC has put in place since the beginning of January to help keep the system safe for customers and employees amid the COVID pandemic.

And as Toronto continues to slowly reopen, maintaining physical distancing on mass public transit becomes more challenging, so face masks will help reduce the spreading of the virus.

“Safety is always our top priority,” said TTC Chair Jaye Robinson. “Making face coverings mandatory on public transit is a necessary measure to keep Torontonians safe as ridership begins to increase on the TTC.”

“We’ve already seen an increase in the number of people wearing face coverings on the TTC since we began strongly recommending this practice in the middle of May,” said Rick Leary, TTC CEO.

“To support our customers in this change we will be employing a one-time targeted strategy to distribute one million non-medical masks to our customers. Working with the City’s Poverty Reduction Office, the distribution will start June 29. We are also doing a multi-lingual customer education campaign to ensure awareness.”

The transit agency has also implemented other safety initiatives including conducting multiple vehicle and station cleanings each day, equipping subway stations with hand sanitizer dispensers, and installing barriers and signage to remind customers to keep their distance from operators.

Mayor John Tory said the TTC commission made the right decision to make face coverings mandatory, and that he fully supports the decision, which was based on public health advice.

"While this rule doesn’t come into effect until July 2, I encourage everyone using the TTC to make sure they are wearing a face-covering now to help protect and respect their fellow riders,” said Tory.

This move follows on the heels of Mississauga, Brampton, and Ottawa all implementing the same protocol.

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