February 1, 2021

Per a new Public Health Order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Washoe County is making some minor changes to the enforcement of the mask-wearing policy. The RTC and its contractors have been in full compliance of Governor Sisolak’s Mask-wearing Directive as of its effective date in June 2020, and the current mask-compliance rate on RTC buses is 99.9%.

RTC transit operators will continue to educate passengers without masks about mask wearing and will offer a free mask to anyone boarding transit. If a passenger refuses to wear a mask, the transit operator will notify dispatch, who will send either a security guard (at a transit station) or a supervisor to the location of the bus at the earliest safe opportunity. The person will be asked to either put on a mask, or choose to get off the bus. Security will also be monitoring 4TH STREET STATION and CENTENNIAL PLAZA to ensure continued compliance with federal mask-wearing requirements.

Per the order, the following individuals are exempt from the mask-wearing requirement:
• A child under the age of 2 years;
• A person with a disability who cannot wear a mask, or cannot safely wear a mask, because of the disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act;
• A person for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to workplace health, safety, or job duty as determined by the relevant workplace safety guidelines or federal regulations.

According to the American Public Transit Association (APTA), no direct correlation has been found between use of public transit and transmission of COVID-19. A review of studies from around the world indicate minimal risk from using public transit, especially where specific safeguards are in place, such as face coverings. The CDC mask order is another step that allows public transportation to be a key component in reviving our communities and the nation’s economy.

RTC’s transit services continue on a normal schedule and RTC’s transit contractors are continuing increased cleaning on transit vehicles and facilities daily. Buses are also cleaned nightly to meet or exceed CDC guidelines. An electrolysis fogging unit is used to kill the virus.

The RTC has worked with its transit contractors to implement the following practices to help keep everyone safe:
• Promoting social-distancing guidelines at transit facilities and on transit vehicles with designated seating.
• Monitoring capacity on buses and activating additional service when necessary to allow for social distancing.
• Additional service on key routes where we know there is higher demand to proactively account for social distancing.
• Hand sanitizer dispensers installed on buses.
• Installed plexiglass or plastic barrier shields between bus driver and passengers boarding bus.
• Providing free face coverings on buses and at RTC Customer Service at 4TH STREET STATION in Reno and CENTENNIAL PLAZA in Sparks.
• Posting signage on buses and at transit stations reminding customers face coverings are required on transit and at transit facilities.
• Providing complimentary face coverings onboard RTC RIDE, ACCESS and FlexRIDE services.
• Keolis has two nurses on site, 7 days a week, to perform employee temperature checks and deliver a safe working environment.
• The RTC is actively working with the Washoe County Health District to prioritize vaccines for Keolis and MTM drivers.

The RTC is also running an extensive advertising campaign and produced this short video reminding transit passengers that masks are mandatory. The RTC is a partner in the region’s Mask On. Move On. campaign to encourage communitywide mask wearing and joined the American Public Transit Association’s Safety and Health Commitments Program. In July 2020, the RTC was recognized as a #MaskUpNV Battle Born Business by Governor Sisolak for installing mask dispensers in buses to help riders comply with the state’s mandatory mask-wearing policy. The RTC shares that recognition with contractors Keolis and MTM.

To learn more, please visit rtcwashoe.com.