As COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the CDC has made it mandatory to wear face masks on public transportation as well as in transportation hubs. This applies to both operators and travelers and includes airports, seaports, trains, buses, subways, taxis, and rideshares, as well as within terminals, stations, ports, and transit centers. With the masks, both the mouth and the nose must be covered while entering or exiting any of these modes of travel or transportation hub. The goal of this mandate is to keep communities safe, as the virus transmitting through travel continues to lead to interstate and international viral spread. According to the CDC, public transportation increases the risk of contracting and/or spreading COVID-19 due to the close contact for prolonged periods. Even with these modifications, the CDC still recommends avoiding nonessential travel.
King County Metro has already required masks on buses, but has also expanded other safety measures. They have upgraded air filters and added safety partitions for drivers. Additionally, every other seat is blocked to avoid individuals sitting too closely to one another. There are limits to the amount of passengers that can be on one vehicle, and therefore, some areas have twice as many buses so more people can make their essential travel. These vehicles are also disinfected daily. The order became effective on February 2, 2021. Further travel guidance through the CDC can be viewed here.