New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is getting creative to get its message across during the coronavirus pandemic, launching a new campaign encouraging riders to cover their noses and mouths.
The MTA, North America’s largest transportation network, which runs New York City’s subways, buses, and commuter rail cars, is using digital signs and audio announcements to make sure commuters know they are now required to wear masks or cloth coverings over their noses and mouths.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday he would sign an executive order requiring everyone in the state to wear a mask or a mouth and nose covering when not able to social distance and when riding public transportation. It’s part of the state’s effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.
MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren said, “This executive order follows our efforts, leading the country, to keep our customers and employees safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. Wearing the face covering is critical to protecting public health and could ultimately save lives.”
The MTA said it’s hammering that point home with its “Keep Them Covered” campaign. It will use digital signage across more than 7,000 screens in the NYC subway, on buses, and on the Long Island Railroad and Metro-North Railroad. More than 7,000 printed signs will also be used in buses and paratransit vehicles.
The bright yellow signs feature easy-to-follow flow charts that always conclude with having mouths and noses covered. There’s also an illustrated passenger wearing a mask and flashing a thumbs up.
New York had more than 225,000 reported cases of Covid-19 and nearly 12,000 deaths reported as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking cases globally. Sixty-eight MTA employees have died due to the pandemic, an agency spokesperson said this week.
The MTA is also reminding its customers that, for now, public transportation is for essential travel only and all other New Yorkers should stay home.
CNN’s Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.