BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The MBTA is taking steps to protect their employees after three of their bus drivers tested positive for COVID-19.
Now, the employees' workspaces, vehicles, and any equipment they may have used are being disinfected at the T's Cabot Yard facility.
Close contacts of the drivers will be alerted by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health with instructions for self-quarantine.
The MBTA said the three cases were reported to them Tuesday.
"We ask the public to keep our employees in their thoughts, and I continue to express my deep gratitude to the women and men of the MBTA workforce who are serving a vital purpose in combating COVID-19," MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak said in a release Wednesday. "To ensure we can protect the health and safety of our workforce, we strongly urge essential travel only, and we will continue our enhanced protocols for cleaning and disinfecting all vehicles, equipment, and surfaces."
The transit agency is asking Massachusetts residents to stay home, and only use the T if absolutely necessary.
In response to the news, the Boston Carmen's Union released the following statement from President Jim Evers:
"We hope that the Baker Administration and the MBTA recognize the incredible commitment of this workforce when making decisions about compensation and sick leave for their essential employees, particularly during this unprecedented time. We’re concerned because members of the Boston Carmen’s Union who have been on duty have tested positive for COVID-19. As essential employees, our members report to work each day knowing they face this risk. The Carmen’s Union has been working in coordination with the MBTA to ensure the health and safety or our members, but nothing is foolproof when interacting with the public every day. Unfortunately, the T’s leave policies fall short of recognizing the sacrifice and dedication these employees are making every day on the job. We’ll fight for our members. Keep them in your prayers."
On Saturday, March 21, the T ordered riders to board all buses and street-level trolleys through the rear doors in order to avoid contact with operators. Last week, the agency put new disinfecting protocols in place.
(Photo: Getty Images)