KITCHENER -- Transit in Guelph will expand its ridership rules on Monday, allowing buses to carry more than 10 people at a time again.

Based on advice from public health officials, transit officials are asking all riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering on the bus.

Though a covered face is not a substitute for physical distancing or handwashing, wearing a mask can help protect those around the wearer.

"As the buses get busy again, physical distancing may not always be possible. We’re asking riders to wear a non-medical mask or face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19," says general manager of Guelph Transit Robin Gerus in a news release.

In that release, Gerus stresses that the face coverings are not mandatory.

Officials recognize that some people may not be aware of the latest public health guidelines, may not be able to buy a mask or may have a medical reason for not wearing one.

"Everyone is welcome to use Guelph Transit, and we're asking people to protect and respect each other as ridership increases," Gerus is quoted.

Buses in Guelph will stay free on a 30-minute schedule through the end of June.

Officials have also installed plastic barriers between drivers and passengers, and encouraged people to board from the rear door.