The transportation provider said the new policy is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 is a disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“The safety of Amtrak’s customers and employees is our top priority and requiring a facial covering is one more way we can protect everyone,” Amtrak President and CEO Bill Flynn said in a statement.
“Amtrak continues to operate as an essential service for those who must travel during this public health crisis. Our services will be even more critical as our nation recovers.”
The facial coverings must cover the nose and mouth. They can be removed when customers are eating in designated areas, in private rooms, or seated alone with a companion in their own pair of seats.
Small children are exempt from the requirement.
An Amtrak spokeswoman told The Epoch Times that “service will be denied to customers not wearing facial coverings.”
Customers must supply their own coverings, she said.
Airlines including American, United, and Delta said passengers will be required to wear masks when flying and some public transportation agencies have announced similar requirements or recommendations.
Amtrak cited recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which said last month people should don masks or face coverings when in places “where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain,” such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
The CCP virus primarily spreads through close, prolonged contact and outbreaks can occur in crowded public areas such as train stations and bus terminals.
Most people who contract the illness recover and some never show symptoms or only experience mild or moderate symptoms.
The bulk of patients who require hospital care are elderly and/or those who have serious underlying health conditions.
Apart from wearing a mask and gloves, ways to avoid getting the virus include frequently washing hands, avoiding crowds, and regularly disinfecting surfaces and objects.
The government-subsidized company also said it is limiting bookings to 50 percent capacity to try to follow CDC recommendations for physical distancing. Amtrak has stopped taking cash for the time being. It is offering flexible dining service in the dining or lounge car on all long-distance routes.
While Amtrak reduced or suspended some routes, it said it will continue to operate throughout the pandemic. Acela service is restarting on a modified schedule starting June 1.