Bengaluru Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) strictly follows the mandate of wearing masks in public places.
BMRCL is the only transport service to follow Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike’s (BBMP) mandate of wearing masks in public places. BBMP, since June, has made masks mandatory in places like railway stations, bus stands, hospitals, schools, colleges and other public spaces. BMRCL which falls under such public spaces has been the only one following these rules compared to its counterparts- Bengaluru Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) and Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC).
T. L. Ravi Prakash, Senior Manager Public Relations of BMRCL said, “Our current guidelines related to wearing masks in metro are the same but they have been relaxed a little lately. If there is a gathering of more than three to four people—then we ask the commuters to wear a mask. It is not necessary for one or two people. For public safety, we request everyone to wear a mask.”
This month, BBMP has recorded over 2,635 active cases of COVID-19 in Bengaluru which is more, compared to the 2,480 active cases recorded till September 16, 2022. Balasundar, Chief Health Officer of Public Health at BBMP said, “The mask mandate that had come in June is no longer in force.”
From January till February this year, BMRCL has registered more than 2000 cases of people without masks and imposed a fine of Rs 250 on each person as penalty. However, Ravi Prakash said, “These restrictions and penalties have been relaxed since March 2022.”
Ravi Prakash further added that wearing masks in metro was mandatory a few months back but now BMRCL has relaxed the restrictions. Now, they are insisting people to wear masks when they are in a group or at metro station where there are many people. BMRCL has also relaxed the fines and penalties at the moment.
Seema, a frequent commuter of metro said, “I always wear a mask, be it in metro or my office as a precautionary measure post COVID. It is more of a choice now so when metro officials insist on wearing masks, I have no issues with it.”
However, wearing mask throughout the day becomes difficult for other commuters like Kartika Pillai. She said, “There are no notices regarding compulsion of wearing masks while entering the metro station. One can only know about it when the security guard asks them to wear it. Sometimes it is not feasible to keep wearing mask all the time and since in other places masks are not compulsory, we have become habitual of not wearing them.”
Dr. Sonal Mittal of SCPM Super Specialty Hospital and Trauma Centre, Gonda said, “Metro is a closed place with no fresh air circulation which is why metro officials often insist on wearing masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If one’s immunity is low then they should wear a mask otherwise it is not compulsory to wear masks. It should be up to a person’s will to wear it as wearing a mask continuously might also lead to suffocation. And, if the mask is not washed properly it would lead to more health issues. It is okay if an immunocompetent person doesn’t wear a mask.”