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CT DOT officials, state troopers hand out free masks to transit riders as second wave of COVID-19 continues


HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– Until a COVID vaccine is ready, the best defense against coronavirus: a mask. The transportation officials tried to make that point to rail and bus riders across Connecticut.

“You’ve got to be safe for yourself and others too,” said Ana Arroyo, Hartford.

Ana Arroyo realizes public transportation is a risk amid a pandemic. But for many like her, it’s essential.

“Sometimes the people on the bus don’t wear a mask. And inspectors tell them to wear a mask. You know, they’ll go on the bus and tell them to wear their mask”, said Arroyo.

As a second wave of Coronavirus slams every state in the nation, Connecticut Department of Transportation is stepping up its efforts to give away free masks to transit riders.

“We do have a stockpile. Fortunately over the past couple of months we’ve been able to accumulate masks and we’re going to keep handing them out until this is over,” said Rich Andreski, Bureau Chief, CONN DOT.

Mask. Social Distance. Wash hands. The message from state officials. Connecticut State Police also on hand passing out disposable masks at Hartford’s Parkville Station. And at the state’s busiest train stop: New Haven’s union station.

“I went through probably about 50 or so in the last hour. It’s nice to have an extra. You put it in your purse your bag. Whatever,” said John Bernick, CONN DOT.

The DOT has placed barriers between bus drivers and passengers. Still, the pandemic can be felt throughout the department.

“We have had some hospitalizations over the past several months. For the most part people are doing well,” said Andreski.

The DOT has really stepped-up cleaning of busses during the pandemic. They wipe down surfaces frequently and when the buses dock at night, they’re sprayed down with a hospital grade cleaner.

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