Queens lawmaker partners with MTA for mask giveaways across eastern Queens

Courtesy of Grodenchik’s office

Councilman Barry Grodenchik joined the MTA on Monday, Sept. 14, to help distribute 200 face masks at the bus stops near the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Springfield Boulevard in Queens Village. 

The event, called “Operation Respect,” is part of an MTA campaign to promote mask-wearing on city buses, subways, and railroads to help keep commuters safe from COVID-19. Riding the New York City subway system and buses without a mask is punishable by a fine of $50, courtesy of a new policy that Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced last week. 

While MTA staff distribute masks in subway stations, there are no stations in the transit starved eastern Queens district that Grodenchik represents.  

Since local commuters rely heavily on buses, Grodenchik has been providing masks along major bus routes in the district. This is Grodenchik’s third time distributing masks to transit riders.  

In July and August, he participated in two other “Operation Respect” giveaways — one at bus stops at the intersection of Springfield Boulevard and Union Turnpike in Oakland Gardens and another at the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard in Hollis.  

Councilman Barry Grodenchik (l.) participates in “Operation Respect” in August distributing face masks to commuters at a bus stop near the intersection of Hillside Avenue and Francis Lewis Boulevard in Hollis.

Volunteers and staff joined Grodenchik at all three events, distributing a total of 600 masks.

“Even as the number of cases of COVID-19 falls, we must continue to be vigilant when it comes to wearing face masks,” said Grodenchik, who recovered COVID-19 in March. “Wearing face masks is an important component of our city’s efforts to combat the spread of the virus.”