RIPTA Reminds Passengers that Federal Mask Mandate for Public Transportation Has Been Extended

May 27, 2021

Press Releases

Passengers Who Cannot Comply Due to Disability Must Contact RIPTA Prior To Travel

As the State eases most COVID-19 precautions, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is reminding passengers that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has extended the federal mandate requiring that face masks be worn when using public transportation — including subways and buses.  Last week, Governor Dan McKee made note of the transit mask requirement when announcing that most of Rhode Island would be allowed to forego prior guidelines on mask-wearing and social distancing in accordance with new CDC guidance. The federal mandate regarding the requirement for face masks on public transportation was slated to expire earlier this month but has been extended through September 13, 2021.

“As we see our State continue to make progress in keeping COVID-19 cases under control, we remain committed to following all pertinent federal regulations and we are continuing to coordinate with the Governor’s Office and the Rhode Island Department of Health,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer.

Passengers under the age of two and those who have a disability that prevents them from safely wearing a mask are exempt on RIPTA buses. Those who cannot comply due to a disability must contact RIPTA prior to traveling on board any of its vehicles.   They can seek an exemption in advance by calling Customer Service at 401-784-9500, ext. 2012.   For general information on traveling safely with RIPTA during the pandemic, please visit

Gov. McKee noted the effectiveness of vaccinations in enabling the State to move forward without restrictions in most settings.  Some of the situations he cited where precautions are still required include:

  • People who are not fully vaccinated. This includes children from 2 to 12 years of age.
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in healthcare settings. Examples of healthcare settings include doctors’ offices, hospitals, and nursing homes.
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people traveling on public transportation (for example, planes, buses, trains, etc.).
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people in facilities that serve people experiencing homelessness, including residents and employees. 
  • Teachers, school administrators, and staff should continue to wear masks while in school, even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • Both vaccinated and unvaccinated employees and customers of businesses that require masks.

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