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Pinellas County requiring masks on public buses

First in the Tampa Bay area to do so
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Posted at 5:10 PM, Jun 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-17 00:00:13-04

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The bus system in Pinellas County is the first in the Tampa Bay area to require all drivers and passengers to wear protective masks.

“We believe this is the best way to keep our employees and our community safe,” said Stephanie Rank, Pinellas Sunscoast Transit Authority public relations coordinator.

Free bandanas are available at some terminals.

And if you don’t wear a mask, drivers have the power to turn you away.

“With the rising cases in Pinellas and the state of Florida, this horrible disease is still spreading. If we can mitigate and slow the spread of this horrible disease then we are doing our part,” said Rank.

In Hillsborough County, Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority drivers and customers aren’t required to wear masks, but it is strongly encouraged.

HART says its drivers are sitting behind safety shields and buses are disinfected before going out into service.

Pasco County officials say masks aren’t mandatory on its buses, but they supply all staff with masks, gloves and sanitation supplies.

Polk County officials say they are also providing masks to staff and offer up to a $30 reimbursement for those who buy them.

They are encouraged for drivers and passengers, but not required.

And Manatee County says they are installing face mask dispensers on all buses and terminals.

But they are not denying service to people who aren’t wearing masks.

They also say they take daily temperature checks at the start of each shift.