A number of carriers, including Uber, Amtrak and all three major airlines, said they would no longer require employees or customers to wear masks after a federal judge revoked the Biden government’s mask mandate.
On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did not have the authority to enter a mask mandate and did not follow proper rules to carry out a mandate. The Biden administration said it was considering whether to appeal the ruling. (The mask mandate for air travel and public transit was set to expire on April 18, but was recently extended to May 3.)
But many private carriers are not waiting for the response from the White House. Uber sent a message to passengers and drivers in the US that masks would no longer be mandatory, but were recommended nonetheless. Riders will also be allowed to use the front passenger seat for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
A Lyft spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on its own policies.
You can now drive without a mask and use the front seat if necessary. While the use of a mask is still recommended, we have updated our Covid safety policy. Let’s move forward together, safe.
For US riders only. pic.twitter.com/LgHYSsC4Bg
— Uber (@Uber) Apr 19, 2022
The Transportation Security Administration said in response to the federal judge’s ruling it would no longer enforce the mask mandate for air travelers. Almost immediately, the three major airlines — Delta Airlines, American Airlines and United Airlines — repealed their own rules requiring masks to be worn on domestic flights. Masks may still be required for some international flights or when flying in and out of certain places, the airlines said.
An Amtrak spokesperson said that while passengers and employees “are no longer required to wear masks on board trains or at stations, masks are welcome and remain an important preventative measure against COVID-19. Anyone who needs one or chooses to wear one is encouraged to do so.”
But some transit agencies are holding out. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which operates subways and buses in New York City, said it would continue to require passengers and employees to wear masks as it reviews its policy. The Los Angeles Subway said the same, noting that it awaited further guidance from the federal government. However, New Jersey Transit said it would? no longer force the wearing of a mask on his trains.
The CDC’s recent extension of the mask mandate came amid a rise in COVID cases in some parts of the country as the BA.2 Omicron subvariant becomes the dominant strain in the US. During the pandemic, public health officials have recommended wearing uniform masks to help contain the spread of COVID-19, especially in crowded, poorly ventilated areas. on her websiteThe CDC strongly recommends wearing masks during transportation to reduce the chances of getting and spreading the virus.
Update Apr 19, 10:33 AM ET: Updated with a statement from the Los Angeles Metro.