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Amtrak To Require Masks Starting Monday To Avoid Spread Of The Coronavirus

Amtrak will limit bookings to half of a train's normal capacity so passengers can maintain social distance.
Matt Rourke
Amtrak will limit bookings to half of a train's normal capacity so passengers can maintain social distance.

Amtrak is the latest transportation provider to require all passengers to wear facial coverings or masks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus, beginning Monday.

The intercity passenger rail agency joinsmost of the nation's passenger airlines and many public transit systems in requiring coverings or face masks on passengers.

Customers will have to "wear a facial covering over their nose and mouth while in stations, on trains and [Thruway] buses," Amtrak said in a news release. "Facial coverings can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in their private rooms, or seated alone or with a travel companion in their own pair of seats. Small children who are not able to maintain a facial covering are exempt from this requirement."

"The safety of Amtrak's customers and employees is our top priority," Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement, "and requiring a facial covering is one more way we can protect everyone."

To maintain physical distancing on trains, Amtrak is limiting bookings to half of each train's normal capacity, making it easier for passengers to sit farther apart. Amtrak is also temporarily going cashless in stations and on trains — to limit contact between customers and employees.

In addition, Amtrak is taking extra steps in cleaning and sanitizing trains and stations.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

David Schaper is a correspondent on NPR's National Desk, based in Chicago, primarily covering transportation and infrastructure, as well as breaking news in Chicago and the Midwest.
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