NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Wearing masks on buses and subway trains has already been the rule for months now, but too many people still aren’t following it, and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority says its warning period is over.

Safety on the subway is always top of mind, and now it’s not just about protecting passengers from crime but from COVID.

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To halt unnecessary health risks and keep precautions on track, the MTA is urgently warning refusing to cover your face will cost you $50.

“We need everyone to do their part and mask up. We know this is what our customers want. They told us they feel safer when they see their fellow customers wearing masks,” said MTA Chief Safety Officer Patrick Warren. “It’s the ultimate sign of respect.”

After months of handing out hundreds of thousands of masks  on mass transit, the MTA is taking a stern stance and stepping up enforcement.


The many commuters CBS2’s Jessica Layton met who are already masked up say they’re on board with the rule.

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“At the end of the day we’re all in this together, and as New Yorkers, we’ve been through a lot and it’s not much to ask. So if we can be a little bit safer and still get where we need to go, it’s what we should do,” New Rochelle resident Troy Sill said.

“I totally agree. It’s the least thing we can do. I believe that we all are responsible for each other,” Washington Heights resident Richard Wingert said.

Wingert says on some days, only half of the people on his packed train seem to be wearing their masks.

Wednesday night, some of those who weren’t ran away from CBS2’s camera as Layton tried to explain what staying unmasked underground will mean going forward.

Face coverings are required on buses, trains and in enclosed stations under state and federal law.

If you forget your mask, free masks are still available in many subway stations.

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CBS2’s Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team