BART Board of Directors to consider reinstating mask mandate for riders

The Bay Area Rapid Transit Board of Directors will vote this week on whether to reinstate BART’s indoor mask mandate.

The previous mandate began April 28 and expired last week on July 18 ­– the second time it’s been lifted in three months. At the same time, the agency is still encouraging BART riders to mask-up, and free masks are still being offered at station agent booths.

If passed, the new mandate would last until Oct. 1, or longer, if the board decides to extend it.

The board’s vote comes as the highly transmissible Omicron subvariant ­- BA.5- has caused yet another surge of COVID-19 infections in the Bay Area. According to CDC models, the variant makes up 51.9% of all infections in California.

BART monitors mask-wearing through surveys conducted four times a month. In June, they estimated that 89% of riders wore masks.

During the July 28 meeting, the board will also consider raising wages to meet the Bay Area’s high cost of living, as well as provide an update on the agency’s effort to deploy unarmed Transit Ambassadors and Crisis Intervention Specialists.

According to a news release, the meeting will begin with a closed door session at 4 p.m. followed by a public portion at 5 p.m. The meeting will also be livestreamed. The link can be found here.