For the Port Authority Family, A Day of Prayer and Remembrance

By Amber Greene, Deputy Director, Port Authority Media Relations

Today, Port Authority employees, retirees, and friends commemorated the 19th anniversary of the September 11 attacks, as well as the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. With COVID-19 still a major public health threat, the agency, which traditionally has hosted the service at St. Peter’s Church in Lower Manhattan near the WTC site, held its annual 9/11 Interfaith ceremony virtually this year.

The pre-recorded service was broadcast over Facebook and the agency’s website to allow participants to safely observe this solemn day of remembrance to honor the 84 Port Authority employees, including the 37 members of the Port Authority Police Department who made the ultimate sacrifice in the service of saving others on September 11, 2001 and the six Port Authority employees and one unborn child who died on February 26, 1993.

The nearly hour-long program opened with the Presenting of Colors by the PAPD Honor Guard and PAPD Pipes and Drums. Prayers of consolation and messages of hope were offered by several clergy leaders at a time many feel the burden of the effects on COVID-19 and their inability to safely mourn together.

Remarks were shared from Port Authority Chairman Kevin O’Toole and Executive Director Rick Cotton, as well as officials from both New York and New Jersey, including Governor Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul of New York.

The service will continue to be available throughout the month and may be viewed on the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey’s Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/panynj

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World Trade Center Campus Making a COVID Comeback

By Lenis Valens, Media Relations Staff

Since March, the usually bustling World Trade Center campus has been eerily quiet. The buzz of thousands of downtown workers heading to and from work, throngs of tourists enjoying one of the country’s most-visited sites, and the ring of cash registers from area businesses has been missing.

But as the summer fades into fall, plans are well underway for the re-emergence of campus life. Signs of renewed energy and activity are evident, beginning to restore the vitality that defines the 16-acre WTC site.

Photo Courtesy of Stella Leo, LifeSTYLE blogger

With more of the city able to safely reopen, the announcement of Westfield’s opening on September 9 is welcome news. Doors are open for many retailers who have returned to the campus. One of the staple locations in the Oculus — Starbucks — is open for a caffeine pick-me-up for those working and visiting the World Trade Center campus. Essential businesses such as Duane Reade and Eataly remained open through the spring and summer, with Eataly expanding its operations this week to include outdoor dining on Cortlandt Way. A full list of retailers currently open can be found on the World Trade Center website.

The 9/11 Memorial Plaza, which reopened in July, is now open daily from 1-8 p.m. to visitors. Following this week’s September 11anniversary commemoration, the museum will also open to 9/11 families and to the general public starting Saturday, September 12 with limited capacity.

All this resuming activity is taking place as the Port Authority continues to expand, enhance and improve its safety measures throughout the WTC Transportation Hub for the benefit of commuters, visitors and employees. The Oculus has a state-of-the-art, multi-layered air filtration system that uses High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters able to filter 99.97 percent of all airborne particles.  “We have been working tirelessly for months to implement a plan that will ensure the safety of all those who work at or visit the World Trade Center campus,” said Port Authority World Trade Center Director Alan Reiss. “We believe our detailed public safety planning to prevent the spread of COVID-19 will pay off by providing a strong level of comfort to the public while they are on the campus.”

Face coverings are required throughout the WTC campus and ample signage is in place to inform and assist customers and visitors. In addition, surfaces throughout the Oculus frequently touched by visitors are being cleaned continually and all areas are disinfected on a regular basis using EPA-approved and CDC-endorsed disinfectants.

Newly installed floor decals and recorded announcements offer reminders to practice physical distancing at staircases, escalators and elevator cabs as part of the safety program. These measures are coupled with 26 touchless hand-sanitizing stations installed throughout the Oculus.

So the WTC is up, running and continuing to open its arms to visitors.

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Note to Rail, Bus Customers: We’ve Got You Covered

By Scott Ladd, Media Relations Staff

Customers using PATH, the Port Authority Bus Terminal (PABT) and the George Washington Bridge Bus Station are required to wear face coverings. And, while the vast majority of riders are indeed masking up, the Port Authority is again offering a helping hand when the need arises.

Starting today, PATH is launching the second round of its mask reinforcement and distribution program at Journal Square and will host similar mask giveaways at JSQ and the World Trade Center on September 10 and 17, respectively. The PABT and GWB station are scheduled to distribute face coverings once a week during the afternoon rush through the end of September, beginning next Thursday.

PATH’s Linda Doss provides face coverings to a JSQ customer

“Safety is our top priority,” said PATH GM Clarelle DeGraffe. “If we can help protect our customers and our staff, in addition to continuing to strongly encourage our riders to mask up themselves, we’re going to do it.”

Mask distribution is part of the Port Authority’s comprehensive strategy to protect and educate the traveling public and agency employees, while maintaining reliable service with a minimum of disruption during COVID-19. The agency has also implemented aggressive sanitizing and cleaning protocols at all facilities to ensure customer and staff safety.

Across all PA facilities, safety measures are publicized through a network of public signage, as well as digital and other messaging methods. Port Authority police are on hand to advise riders, reinforce agency policy, and provide masks when needed. The agency is following directives from the governors of New York and New Jersey on protocols to prevent and contain the spread of the virus.

PABT staff handing out masks in July

The remaining scheduled distribution dates are:

Assistant PATH Station Manager Rhonda Hendy and masking messages

PATH

Thursday, September 10 – 6:30 – 8:30 a.m., Journal Square Station

Thursday, September 17 – 4:30-6:30 p.m., World Trade Center Station

PABT/GWB Bus Station

Thursday, September 10 – 3-6 p.m.

Tuesday, September 15 – 3-6 p.m.

Wednesday September 23 – 3-6 p.m.

Tuesday, September 29 – 3-6 p.m.

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