Auckland Transport has welcomed the New Zealand government’s mandating of face masks on public transport.
From Monday, August 31, face coverings will be required on all public transport for regions of New Zealand in alert level 2 or higher. Currently, all of New Zealand is at alert level 2 and the Auckland region is at alert level 3 until Sunday August 30, where it will return to alert level 2.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the measures would be effective in limiting the spread of the virus.
“Wearing a face covering is an effective measure to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Everything we can do in the fight against this disease makes a difference, and I believe the mandatory wearing of masks on public transport is sensible given our recent experience.”
Auckland Transport has put out alerts for travellers on certain buses as passengers travelled while having COVID-19.
Auckland Transport has also taken other measures to ensure that public transport is still safe for travellers, including through cleaning, not taking cash, and keeping a two metre distance between travellers. Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison said that AT HOP cards have also been used to track and contact close contacts of those who travelled with COVID-19.
“We have already stepped up the level of cleaning on all services with regular steam cleans now in place and now the Government’s decision to make face masks mandatory will only make public transport safer,” he said.
“Our customer research from the first weekend back in Alert Level 3 shows 88 per cent of people would support compulsory face masks on public transport.”
Goff said the wearing of face masks would benefit the community.
“We all have a responsibility to follow government health directives — for the good of ourselves, our families and older folk and our wider communities,” he said.