RIPTA to Enforce Federal Mandate Requiring Face Masks Be Worn on Public Transportation

February 5, 2021

Press Releases

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

 The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) is reminding passengers that they must be in compliance with a new federal order requiring that face masks be worn when using public transportation, including subways and buses.  The order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) went into effect on February 1, 2021 and follows President Biden’s Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel.  The federal order is in keeping with the current State requirement that face coverings be worn in public, including on public transportation, to help prevent the transmission of COVID-19.

Passengers under the age of two and those who have a disability that prevents them from safely wearing a mask are exempt, but they must contact RIPTA prior to traveling on board any of its vehicles.  RIPTA is requiring passengers who are unable to wear a mask to seek an exemption in advance by calling Customer Service at 401-784-9500, ext. 2012.  RIPTA has updated its policy in keeping with the latest federal order and it can be viewed at  For general information on traveling safely with RIPTA during the pandemic, please visit

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, RIPTA has worked closely with the State of Rhode Island and followed all federal guidelines in order to implement the best practices and policies for the protection of the public, and we continue to do so,” said Scott Avedisian, RIPTA’s Chief Executive Officer.

In a press release this week, the CDC stated that the mask requirement is to “further prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 and to further support state and local health authorities, transportation partners, and conveyance operators to keep passengers, employees, and communities safe.”     

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