FLORIDA — A federal judge’s decision in Florida to scrap a national mask mandate for public transportation in the United States has created a confusing patchwork of rules for passengers as they navigate airports and transit systems .
The decision gives airports, public transport systems, airlines and ride-sharing services the option of keeping the rules on wearing masks or dropping them altogether, resulting in rules that vary by city and mode. transport.
Passengers on a United Airlines flight from Houston to Kennedy Airport, for example, could throw away their masks at the departure airport and on the plane, but must put them back on once they land in New York or took the metro.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recently extended the mandate until May 3 to allow more time to study the Omicron BA.2 subvariant of the coronavirus which is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the States. -United. But the court decision suspended the mandate.
Here is an overview of the reaction of hubs and transport providers in the United States:
Major airlines were among the first to update their rules after the court ruling. United, Southwest, American, Alaska, Delta and JetBlue have announced that effective immediately, masks will no longer be required on domestic flights.
“While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the public, they will be able to wear masks if they wish, as the CDC continues to recommend in transport. public,” United Airlines said.
The Flight Attendants Association, the nation’s largest cabin crew union, recently took a neutral stance on the mask rule because its members are divided on the issue. On Monday, the union president called for calm on planes and airports.
Alaska Airlines said some passengers who were banned for violating the mask policy will continue to be banned.
The daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, and although the number of hospitalizations remains low, health officials said Monday they fear a possible increase in the number of patients if past pandemic patterns continue. were continuing.
Airports have not been so quick to remove masks, with many expressing uncertainty about the decision and taking a wait-and-see approach.
But others, including Houston’s two major airports, dropped mask requirements soon after the Transportation Security Administration said it would no longer enforce the mask mandate. Los Angeles International and Phoenix Sky Harbor also dropped their mask requirements. San Francisco International Airport said it was awaiting further guidance from the TSA.
New York Airports appeared to keep the mandate intact.
The new software includes several features for existing iPhones, including the ability to unlock your iPhone while wearing a skin, new emojis, and a service that allows iPhone users to accept credit card payments without additional hardware. CNBC reported.
TRAIN AND BUS
Rules for train and bus passengers vary by city and transit agency.
In New York, Metropolitan Transportation Authority communications director Tim Minton said the system retains the mask mandate, which means face coverings are still required on subways, buses and train lines. suburbs, as they have done since the start of the pandemic.
But the regional train system serving the Washington, DC area said Monday that masks will now be optional for its customers and employees going forward.
“Our mask mandate has been based on federal guidelines,” said Paul J. Wiedefeld, managing director and CEO of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. “We will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves, but masks will be optional on Metro property until further notice.”
Amtrak also said it would make face masks optional.
As of Monday night, the websites of ride-sharing companies Lyft and Uber still said masks were required.