County health orders in Contra Costa, Alameda, San Francisco, and San Mateo now require all riders to wear face coverings inside BART stations and on-board trains. The orders also require BART to take reasonable measures to remind the public that they need facing coverings and “must take all reasonable steps to prohibit any member of the public who is not wearing a face covering from entering and must not serve that person if those efforts are unsuccessful and seek to remove that person.” Failure to comply with the emergency health order is a misdemeanor. Enforcement begins on Wednesday, April 22.
Prior to the order, most BART riders were already wearing face coverings while riding. BART will take the following steps to be compliant with the new orders:
- Signs with pictograms and translations will be posted in all stations.
- PA announcements will be made inside stations and on-board trains.
- Platform digital signs will rotate a message.
- Website and social media posts will be made.
BART Police Deployment and Enforcement Strategies
BART Police Chief Ed Alvarez recently shifted deployment to focus police resources to the entrances of stations and near the faregates. This strategy was put into place to improve safety for our employees and riders and to prevent illegal behavior from occurring. Continuing this deployment will help BART enforce the new orders.
BART Police will be responsible for reminding riders of the new requirement. Consistent with BART’s current operating procedures, Station Agents will not be used to enforce the new public health emergency orders as they are not trained law enforcement personnel.
BART Police will give verbal reminders of the requirement to riders without face coverings when police encounter someone not covering their mouth and nose. Police personnel will remind the rider they have the option to use any material to cover their face. Only upon refusal to cover their face with any material will an officer ask the person to leave the system.
Riders should not confront others without a face covering. If someone isn’t wearing a face covering, riders should move away from the individual.
CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings that can be fashioned from household items or made at home from common materials. The cloth face coverings recommended are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those are critical supplies that must continue to be reserved for healthcare workers and other medical first responders, as recommended by current CDC guidance.