COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Beginning April 15, all passengers on COTA vehicle will be required to wear masks to cover their faces.

The mask requirement is to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

According to the Central Ohio Transit Authority, masks can be medical, homemade, scarves or bandannas. They must be secure and must cover the nose and mouth.

COTA says the requirement is consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Ohio Department of Health, which recommends masks to be worn in public because they can help prevent those with the COVID-19 virus from passing it onto others.

COTA will not provide masks.

“We are determined to take every step we can in order to protect the health of our operators and those customers using COTA for essential travel,” said Joanna M. Pinkerton, COTA president and CEO. “If customers must travel, we ask that they practice social distancing to protect themselves, other customers and operators, who are dedicated to providing essential service during this crucial time.” 

Two COTA drivers have tested positive for COVID-19.

COTA has started an essential-only travel policy aboard its vehicles in response to the state’s stay at home order. The authority is also promoting social distancing on the buses and requiring passengers to use the rear entrances of vehicles.

All COTA transit vehicles are sanitized nightly, the authority said in a statement.