When I saw the new MTA mask signs, I called the Governor, the Borough President, and my Assembly Person to complain . . . but sometimes, social media really does do it better

Update: the MTA got a LOT of pushback on its mask signage, and it looks like they replaced it with this:

So, I have to ask, why didn’t they figure this out in the first place? Wouldn’t you think we’ve got enough to contend with without spending energy on bone-headed nonsense? Nonetheless, I’m glad we don’t any longer (knock wood), have to put up with the first iteration (below).

Really, Governor Hochul? You let these signs go up on your watch?

As I hope readers here can readily see, the new MTA signs upon lifting of the mask mandate on public transportation in New York are truly terrible. As Gregg Gonsalves noted: “Hard to tell the satires apart from the real thing.” [cite] Gonsalves works at Yale “focusing on operations research/epidemiology for infectious disease. In the real world: been an AIDS activist for ~30 yrs.”

I used this as an occasion to call the Governor’s office, as well as my State Assemblyperson and Borough President. I hope the latter two will weigh in with the Governor also, as they have bigger megaphones than I.

Meanwhile, over on social media, Gregg Gonsalves spotted and circulated these parodies (caution: not for the faint of heart).

I think they make the point quite . . . graphically, don’t you?

Thank you also to Jonathan Reiner, Professor of Medicine and Surgery and Interventional Cardiologist at The George Washington University School of Medicine & Health Sciences, for weighing in specifically on “you do you”:

You know, it’s not as if there aren’t a gazillion things wrong in our world today, but can’t we at least be smart about the simple things we should be able to get right?

Please, Governor Hochul, tear down those signs!

Bonus Track

For a far more intelligent approach to Covid, here’s Bob Wachter, Chair of the Department of Medicine at USCF, and a member of my personal Covid A-Team, on what he is doing right now:

Update as of September 15, 2022:

Kudos to Assemblyperson Danny O’Donnell and his staff for responding and working to get the signage changed. His office is the only one that has responded to my request. The staff member (with whom I had an email exchange and who then called me to make sure I could get through the MTA comment labyrinth to do what she suggested) said that it would be helpful to their efforts if anyone who is concerned wrote to the MTA directly. I alerted a number of people on this. Several have written the MTA. One that I know of has received a response (I have not yet, though receipt was acknowledged). This is what the MTA wrote to that person:

“As you may be aware, we did have signage and a media campaign, as you suggested, showing the correct way to wear a mask circulating throughout the pandemic (attached); and they have not yet been entirely removed from system.

“However, effective September 7, 2022, New York State has lifted the mask requirement on public transit for customers as well as employees. Masks are now optional on all forms of public transportation, including subways, buses, commuter railroad, and paratransit services.

“To spread awareness of this change, we’ve rolled out a new campaign that encourages riders to do what they prefer. It was not the intention to be insensitive or flippant to a very real and dire situation. We apologize, and will consider your concerns in future campaigns. Please be assured that free masks will continue to be available at subway station booths upon request as well as on commuter railroad trains

“We do take the concerns of our customers very seriously. We hope that this information is helpful.”

It is a first, tiny step, but of course not sufficient. I do wonder how much of our taxpayer dollars were spent on this benighted campaign. I want a refund, as should we all!

4 thoughts on “When I saw the new MTA mask signs, I called the Governor, the Borough President, and my Assembly Person to complain . . . but sometimes, social media really does do it better

  1. Curt Barnes

    We just took the #1 train both ways today and can say this sign wasn’t in either car. Maybe that’s the good news–at least they’re not all over! All the easier to take down, maybe.

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      I had the same thought yesterday, as, though there was one up on the digital billboard, I didn’t yet see any in either car. Fingers crossed. I really would like to know who thought these signs up. Maybe that person should get into another line of work.

  2. Britta Huegel

    Dear Susan, in Germany it is still forbidden not(!) to wear a mask in public transport (though you don’t have to wear it in the Supermarket – yet I do, my choice).
    I am always in for a good laugh, and though being well-versed in English and American satires, I am a bit baffled here. Is it a joke? Shall it convince people to wear a mask? How much was paid by the taxpayers for this odd campaign?

    1. Susan Scheid Post author

      Dear Britta: Always good to hear from you and to hear what is happening in Germany. You are not alone, I assure you, in being baffled. Of course it will not convince anyone to wear a mask, and moreover seems to me to make the very idea of masking into a joke. I join you in wondering how much we here as taxpayers paid for this campaign, as well as wondering what sort of knucklehead was paid to think this up, and what sort of knucklehead supervision that person had to allow these signs to go into production.

Comments are closed.