Update: Later on the same day this story was published, MARTA said it will mandate mask-wearing in its code of conduct.

While MARTA is distributing face masks to riders as a coronavirus pandemic precaution, it will not require their use.

Masks remain required gear for MARTA employees, but riders “are not required to wear masks,” said Stephany Fisher, the transit agency’s spokesperson.

However, she added, “It is critically important for MARTA customers to wear a mask while riding the system.”

MARTA is also making announcements to riders about mask-wearing requirements imposed by local cities, including Atlanta and Brookhaven, where there are transit stations and stops.

Those local rules defy an executive order from Gov. Brian Kemp, which encourages but does not mandate mask-wearing and legally supersedes any local laws. Governor’s Office spokesperson Candice Broce on social media called the local rules “unenforceable.”

The mask dispute comes amid a spike in COVID-19 cases across the state and in local cities.

Correction: A previous version of this story misquoted the Governor’s Office spokesperson.

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