SunLine Transit Agency bus drivers Monday began denying entry for Coachella Valley transit riders not wearing face coverings in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The transit agency put the measure into effect following an order issued over the weekend by county health officials instructing anyone leaving home to wear a face covering and barring all outside gatherings, except for those between family members residing in the same home.

“While covering our faces has become the next essential step we must all take to help flatten the curve, we also want to emphasize that transit should be used for trips accessing essential services only,” said Lauren Skiver, SunLine’s CEO and general manager. “By working together, we will protect ourselves and others by doing all we can to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

SunLine’s announcement applies to the agency’s regular bus lines, as well as paratransit services.

SunLine previously cut some of its bus routes, and began offering free fares to reduce contact between riders and drivers.

For more information about the changes, go to www.sunline.org/covid.

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