The Port Authority is implementing a new $50 fine for anyone who isn't wearing a face covering inside of the transportation agency's facilities starting Monday.
The Port Authority says the "primary emphasis" remains on getting travelers to voluntarily wear a mask, but the fine would aid existing COVID-19 face covering rules in New York and New Jersey.
"This move is part of agency’s commitment to supporting the New York and New Jersey state requirements on mask wearing in transportation facilities," the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said in a release.
All Port Authority facilities will fall under the new rule—including LaGuardia, JFK, and Newark airports; PATH stations and trains; AirTrain stations and trains; the Midtown Bus Terminal; the GWB Bus Station; and the Oculus in Lower Manhattan.
The Port Authority Police Department and airport personnel are tasked with enforcing the mask mandate. Port Authority spokesperson Lenis Valens said the Port Authority police will ask individuals to put on a mask, offer them a mask if they do not have their own, and then issue a fine if the person refuses.
"We're putting heavy reliance on voluntary compliance but it's important to signal to the public that this is at the heart of stopping the spread of the Coronavirus," said Rick Cotton, the executive director of the Port Authority. "We want to be as strong as possible a contributor to ensure that responsibility is taken seriously."
In September, the MTA starting issuing $50 fines for those who fail to comply with mask-wearing rules. But the NYPD, which MTA had expected to help out with cracking down on riders, had previously stepped back from making any arrests or summonses related to face coverings following scrutiny of the department's aggressive handling of face covering rules. Data released in May showed massive racial disparities regarding NYPD enforcement of coronavirus restrictions.
In the first week of the MTA's mask fine, the MTA police and Bridge and Tunnel officers had issued zero tickets against riders for refusing to wear a mask. Instead, enforcement teams reminded hundreds of riders to wear their masks properly or handed out masks.
The Port Authority did not immediately respond to questions whether any fines were issued Monday morning.
Air travel and PATH ridership remains low as the COVID-19 pandemic has kept more people from traveling or commuting. Passenger volumes have dropped by 84% at JFK, Newark, and LaGuardia airports compared to July to September of last year, according to figures the Port Authority released on October 29th. PATH ridership is also down about 81% compared to this time last year.
This article has been updated with additional information from the Port Authority.