Mountain Line on Wednesday said the transit district will require passengers to wear face masks or other facial coverings starting next Monday.
As Missoula moves deeper into its phased reopening and consumers and workers begin to move about, Mountain Line also plans to restore normal route frequencies, though the hours of operation will remain limited.
“We thank all riders in advance for covering their faces while on board,” said Jennifer Sweten, director of operations. “Wearing a face covering is an important step we can take to protect one another from the spread of COVID-19, especially as our community reopens and ridership increases.”
Shortly before Wednesday’s announcement, city and county health officials urged consumers to take precautions as local businesses work to establish a new normal under current guidelines.
The success of the phased reopening could hold implications on future infections from COVID-19. While Missoula County hasn’t reported any new cases in two weeks, health officials believe the virus is still present in the community.
Mountain Line is also urging caution while also welcoming riders.
“My mask protects you and your mask protects me,” said Sweten.
The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to children under the age of 2, or to individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering due to a medical condition.
Sweten said Mountain Line is still asking all riders to use its services only as needed and to follow best practices for guarding against coronavirus.
“We have already begun to see an increase in ridership as Missoula reopens and we are monitoring capacity closely,” said Sweten. “Restoring 15-minute service on Routes 1 and 2 is in direct response to the need for more physical distancing space for riders along those routes.”
The requirements go into effect on May 11. The same day, Routes 1 and 2 will return to their standard 15-minute frequencies. However, the routes will only operate from 6:45 a.m. to 7:15 p.m.
Updated route schedules are available at www.mountainline.com/covid19.