HIRTA now requires masks for all riders, drivers

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A Boone County Hospital nurse, left, and a HIRTA transit driver mark their successful vaccination. Photo courtesy HIRTA

URBANDALE, Iowa — Following the recent executive order signed by U.S. President Joseph R. Biden, the Heart of Iowa Regional Transit Agency (HIRTA) has begun requiring all riders to wear a mask while boarding and riding all HIRTA vehicles.

The requirement is now in effect.

HIRTA falls under section two of the executive order, requiring masks be worn in “all forms of public transportation as defined in section 5302 of title 49, United States Code.” The U.S. Code defines public transportation as “regular, continuing shared-ride surface transportation services that are open to the general public or open to a segment of the general public defined by age, disability, or low income.”

The mandate further states that “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Surgeon General, and the National Institutes of Health have concluded that mask-wearing, physical distancing, appropriate ventilation and timely testing can mitigate the risk of travelers spreading COVID-19.”

In order “to save lives and allow all Americans, including the millions of people employed in the transportation industry, to travel and work safely, it is the policy of my administration to implement these public health measures consistent with CDC guidelines on public modes of transportation,” Biden said in the executive order.

Prior to the executive order, HIRTA was recommending and encouraging riders to wear a mask, but the president’s executive order now makes face coverings a requirement. HIRTA drivers will continue to wear masks, and all other necessary steps will remain in effect in order to keep everyone safe.

To learn more about what HIRTA is doing to help stop the spread, visit the HIRTA website.

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