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Mask or no mask, bus riders won’t be ‘stranded’

Despite a state mandate to require passengers who ride public transportation and taxis to wear masks, River Valley Transit bus drivers will pick up and drop off individuals whether they are wearing a mask or not at this time.

Management simply can’t abide by the enforcement actions and mandates of the state Department of Heath overnight, management at the transit service at 1500 W. Third St. said.

“We are unable to enforce this on such short notice,” said Adam Winder, interim general manager of River Valley Transit.

If a passenger is waiting in the July heat for a ride, he or she will be taken whether they are wearing facial covering or not, Winder said.

“We are working on a plan moving forward,” he said.

“Nobody who is unmasked will be left stranded,” Winder said. “We will not at this point leave anyone standing along the road,” he said.

Since the outbreak, the buses are scrubbed down and disinfected daily by employees, Winder said.

“The goal is to move forward in a positive way,” Winder said, not wanting to violate the state mandate but also wanting to be ethical and provide public transportation.

It may take a little time for passengers to be aware of the mask requirement by the state, he said.

The new mandate says any public transit provider and rider must be wearing a mask.

In some rare circumstances, there are medical exemptions for those unable to wear a mask but without documentation needed, the state law said.

Mayor Derek Slaughter has said his priorities will be to see that state health and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines and mandates are followed in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

He’s banned large public gatherings for this month.

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