It's April of 2021, and I cannot wait to take this mask off. We've all been dealing with this pandemic for more than a year now. Medical officials say facial coverings are a critical measure people can take to help stop the spread of COVID-19, and we've all had to get used to them as a fact of life. We may dress them up as a fashion statement, but still, all in all, I think we're all looking forward to the day when we can leave the masks behind and get back to pre-2020 normal. However, now is not that time, and if you're looking to ride Valley Metro, facial coverings are still mandatory.
It's been a year since I wrote a blog outlining Valley Metro's initial response to coronavirus. I noted that the national death toll at that time was more than 7,000. The fact that it's now estimated to be more than half a million is almost unbelievable.
We've come a long way since then. Quick action by the scientific research community has yielded multiple vaccines. I'm sure many Valley Metro employees including myself consider themselves lucky to have received a shot at a recent vaccination event.
Last year, Valley Metro’s Boards of Directors declared that facial coverings were to be required on all Valley Metro transit services beginning on July 1st, 2020. Despite the vaccinations and the governor's recent relaxation of COVID-19 protective measures Valley Metro is still required to comply with the guidelines laid out by federal authorities including the CDC and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Last month, the DOT announced the "Mask Up" campaign. It's a measure to urge transit workers and travelers to wear a mask while traveling. According to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, wearing a mask protects the safety of transportation workers, your fellow passengers and yourself.
Again, I fully understand why people may be tired of wearing masks. It feels like we've come such a long way. However, whether you're boarding a bus, using our Dial-A-Ride and paratransit services or getting on a light rail train, please remember to wear a facial covering. Hopefully, we'll soon get to the point where they won't be necessary.