ST. LOUIS ( -- A new policy required by a St. Louis-area transportation company is garnering strong opinions both within the community and online.

Charlie Bullington owns Yo Transportation services, a business he started 16 years ago. Recently, he has made it a requirement that he will only transport passengers who aren’t wearing masks and have not gotten the vaccine.

“We don’t allow any type of masks in our vehicles, the second one is we are very against the vaccine and don’t allow people in our vehicle that did get the vaccine,” Bullington said.

Bullington said he verifies his passengers have not been vaccinated and won’t be wearing a mask before he even picks them up. One man took to Facebook saying he was denied a ride because of his vaccination status.

“I understand Missouri is one of the top three states with the lowest vaccination rate, so I am proud of all the Missouri people for standing against this,” Bullington said.

For months, information gathered from the Centers for Disease Control shows masks and vaccines are highly effective in curbing COVID-19 and are proven to save lives. Bullington said his research included reading articles on two websites, however both have a documented history propagating conspiracy theories, including ones claiming the vaccine is dangerous. He believes masks are germ catchers.

“Because of what they consider the shedding process, them transmitting their germs to us by contact whether it’s a shake of hands, a touch,” Bullington said.

Dr. Farrin Manian, an infectious disease expert with Mercy Hospital said the claims that vaccines and masks don’t work could not be further from the truth. He stands by what doctors have preached throughout the pandemic, reiterating that the data and science show masks play a vital role in preventing the spread of viruses. Manian said no vaccine used in the United States is a live vaccine and therefore can’t transmit the virus to others.

“There’s no way you can actually have live vaccine strains of the virus transmitted through the vaccine and there’s no way you can actually shed any viral particles in the mask or nose,” Manian said.

Bullington said about three in every 10 passengers choose not to ride with him because of his new policy. Doctors are once again reminding people of the benefits of the vaccine, and urging they get vaccinated or talk with medical experts if they have questions.

Copyright 2021 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

News 4 Reporter

Emma Hogg is a general assignment reporter for News 4 St. Louis

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