Across the US, local transit authorities must now decide whether they will continue requiring passengers to mask up or make masking optional after a federal judge struck down the CDC’s public transportation mask mandate Monday.
The decisions are mixed as some transit officials said they will let riders choose whether they want to mask, while others said they would keep their masking policies in place.
The CDC mandate, enacted in February 2021, required people on public transit and at transportation hubs like airports to wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status.
But following the Florida judge’s decision, a Biden administration official said the order is no longer in effect while the ruling is being reviewed.
From Atlanta and Austin to San Francisco and Seattle, here’s how some city transit systems are handling their mask requirements:
Atlanta’s MARTA will stop enforcing its mask mandate, a spokesperson told CNN.
“If customers and employees want to continue wearing masks while on the transit system, they are free to … but masks are not required at this time,” MARTA spokesperson Stephany Fisher said.
Riders of CapMetro in Austin, Texas, are no longer required to wear masks, spokesperson Tawaun Cole told CNN, adding that the CDC “is still encouraging customers to mask up to protect themselves while using public transportation.”
A spokesperson for the Chicago Transit Authority told CNN Monday that masks are still required on CTA trains and buses.
New Jersey Transit, which is a statewide system, said it will continue to require masks on its vehicles. “NJ TRANSIT will continue to comply with all federal and state health guidance as we have since the onset of the pandemic,” the agency said in a statement.
New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Agency said it will keep its mask requirement in place in accordance with the determination made by New the York State Department of Health in March 2022, according to a statement from the agency.
In Philadelphia, SEPTA tweeted Monday night that masks are “recommended but no longer required” on its vehicles and at its stations and concourses.
Portland’s TriMet tweeted Monday afternoon that passengers must still wear masks for now, pointing to the TSA directive extending mask public transit mask requirements through May 3. The TSA announced Monday night it would not be enforcing the directive in light of the court decision.
King County Metro in Seattle is keeping its mask mandate in place, the transit agency said in a release Monday.
“While a federal judge in Florida ruled against the transit mask mandate, there may be an appeal from the Justice Department that could lead to a delay in implementation, or for the decision to be altered or overruled,” the release said. “In the meantime, Metro’s mask mandate remains in effect.”
Riders and employees of the Metro system in Washington, DC, will no longer be required to mask up, the transit agency said in a statement. This includes its Metrorail, Metrobus and MetroAccess services.