De Blasio suggests blocking off every other seat on subways, buses

Mayor Bill de Blasio on Wednesday suggested blocking off every other seat on subways and buses to help prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Hizzoner floated the idea while speaking about keeping the public safe on public transportation when New York City reopens Monday.

“It is crucial that every other seat be blocked off,” de Blasio said at his daily coronavirus press briefing.

He also suggested markings along subway and bus platforms to show where people should stand in line with social distancing rules and operating at reduced capacity.

The MTA has installed hand sanitizer dispensers at some subway stations ahead of the city reopening — though not all were operable. Face masks will also be given out, with the city pledging one million of them.

De Blasio estimated that between 200,000 to 400,000 people will be returning to work on Monday, when the city reopens under Phase 1.

MTA spokeswoman Abbey Collins said the mayor’s ideas were “nice in theory but utterly unworkable.”

“The mayor’s plan would allow us to serve only a tiny percentage of our riders – likely around 8 percent,” she said. “We look forward to hearing more from the mayor and NYPD on their plans for enforcement and compliance with this proposal.”

Covid-19
A sign hanging at the 116th Street-Columbia University station entrance saying the subway is closed for cleaning.

Charles Wenzelberg

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A crowd of straphangers at the Grand Central-42nd Street station.

Taidgh Barron

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An empty Shuttle train at Times Square-42nd Street.

Taidgh Barron

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Additional reporting by David Meyer