Valid from: 28/08/2020 12:00am

From Monday 31 August it will be compulsory for people aged 12 and over to wear face coverings on public transport in addition to the existing physical distancing, personal hygiene, and contact tracing measures already in place under Alert Level 2 for the Wellington region. 

The Government expects all New Zealanders to wear face coverings on public transport with exemptions only for school services, children under 12 years old, and passengers with disability and health concerns.

Scott Gallacher, general manager of Metlink says passengers are already getting to grips with the additional measure.

“We’ve seen thousands of people wearing masks on our buses, ferries and trains. Social media is awash with people wearing the most fantastic masks, scarves and bandanas and Wellingtonians have kicked off a national trend using the hashtag #OnBoardWithMasks to show their support,” says Scott Gallacher.

As well as face coverings, passengers are still expected to take personal responsibility for the existing alert level 2 measures. 

Passengers must continue to keep a 1-metre distance on board services and keep a 2-metres distance while waiting for services.

“The Government has made it clear that Metlink’s frontline workers are not expected to risk their own health and safety by enforcing physical distancing. Where our frontline staff see safe and low risk opportunities for action they will use their own discretion, but ultimately, it is for passengers to make the right choices, for their own safety and the safety of others.”

While physical distancing measures are in place Metlink’s capacity is reduced to 30-35% of its usual amount of passengers on buses, around 30% on trains and around 50% on ferries.

“We’ve got all the buses, ferries and trains out that we can but we’re asking for patience and understanding at this time. If people have the ability to work from home or travel outside of peak hours we welcome their help.”

Passengers should also continue to practice good personal hygiene by washing and sanitising their hands before and after travelling, sneezing and coughing into their elbows and avoiding public transport completely if they are sick.

QR codes, already installed on trains and ferries, are being added to buses to boost contact tracing preparations.  

“It is paramount to the safety of the community that we all follow the advice of the Government. We are all in this together and the Government is calling upon all of us to make the most appropriate personal choices during these extraordinary times. 

“Thank you for your ongoing cooperation and patience, as we work together to keep our community safe and healthy,” adds Scott Gallacher.

Passengers can keep up to date with the Government’s latest alert level 2 measures on public transport through Metlink's social media, website and app.

Posted on 28 August 2020