Uber, Amtrak, major airlines, and other transportation providers have announced that they would no longer require staff or passengers to wear masks. These announcements came after a federal court overturned the Biden administration’s mask rule.
The air travel and public transit mask regulation were due to expire on April 18th, but it was just extended until May 3rd.
However, US District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle ruled on Monday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lacked the jurisdiction to impose a mask mandate and did not follow the required procedures to do so. Following this, the Biden administration stated that it was debating whether or not to appeal the decision.
Many private transportation companies, though, are not waiting for the White House’s reaction. While masks are no longer needed, they are still suggested, according to an Uber notification given to riders and drivers in the United States. Riders will also be permitted to utilise the front passenger seat for the first time since the outbreak began, the Uber notice read.
Following the federal judge’s ruling, the Transportation Security Administration announced that it would no longer require the mask mandate for air travellers. Major airlines like Delta Airlines, American Airlines, and United Airlines immediately squashed the restrictions on requiring masks to be worn on domestic flights. However, the airlines said masks may still be necessary for some foreign flights or while flying into and out of specific locations.
However, some public transportation organisations are standing firm. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which handles New York City’s subways and buses, said it would continue to mandate masks for passengers and staff while it reviewed its policy. The Los Angeles Metro stated the same thing, adding that it was waiting for more information from the federal government. New Jersey Transit, on the other hand, said that it will no longer require mask-wearing on its trains.
The recent extension of the mask mandate by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention coincided with an increase in COVID case counts in several regions of the nation, as the BA.2 Omicron sub-variant became the prevalent strain in the US. Throughout the pandemic, public health experts have consistently advised wearing masks to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, especially in crowded, poorly ventilated locations.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to its website, “highly advocates” wearing masks on public transportation to reduce the risk of catching and transferring the sickness.