TheBus is updating their mask policy for all riders in light of new restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Starting Sept. 1, all riders will be required to wear a mask or face covering to board and ride TheBus and Handi-Van services — no exceptions.

Transportation officials say a rider’s nose and mouth must be covered for the entire time while on city buses, and they are no longer granting medical exemptions.

Those who refuse to comply won’t be allowed to ride. Passengers who remove their mask during the ride may be asked to exit the bus.

“As community spread continues through our island, we must take adequate and increased measures to protect our employees and passengers,” said Department of Transportation Services Deputy Director Jon Nouchi.

“While most passengers have complied with previous face covering directives covered under earlier emergency orders, some passengers have become complacent, and, in disregarding the use of a face covering, present increased risks to their fellow passengers and transit operators.”

Several confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in city bus operators over the last few months. TheBus has also retrofitted buses with barriers separating drivers from passengers, and deep cleanings are now more frequent.

“This policy update is greatly appreciated for our front-line TheBus and TheHandi-Van operators,” said Roger Morton, President and General Manager of Oʻahu Transit Services, Inc. “Consistent wearing of masks and face coverings while onboard will protect our workforce, our riders, and keep everyone safe.”

Anyone with questions regarding the “no mask, no ride” policy on TheBus can call (808) 848-5555 and press “3″.

For questions regarding the policy on the Handi-Van, call (808) 456-5555 and press “3″.

Officials urge the public that only essential trips should be made public transit.

HNN Staff/ Hawaii News Now