By Nathan Diller
After a federal judge struck down the mask mandate for planes, buses and other public transportation settings on Monday, airlines and transit systems across the country began allowing passengers to remove their face coverings. Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft also dropped their mask mandate for riders and drivers.
But there are mask requirements in a number of transit settings, in some cases related to state or local directives. Philadelphia, for instance, became the first major city in the US to reinstate an indoor mask rule this month following a rise in Covid-19 cases.
The Justice Department said on Tuesday, it would appeal the ruling if the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention concludes the mandate is needed to protect public health.
Here are five places in the US where masks still are required when travelling.
1. New York City
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said on Tuesday, “per current New York public health guidance,” the mask requirement would stay in place for LaGuardia Airport and John F Kennedy International Airport, as well as the Port Authority Bus Terminal, PATH system and other locations.
Masks are also required on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subways, buses and commuter rail in accordance with a determination by the state health department, Gov Kathy Hochul tweeted on Tuesday.
NJ Transit, which runs in and out of New York City, no longer requires masks for riders.
2. San Francisco
While masks are now optional in Bay Area airports, including San Francisco International Airport, multiple transit systems require them, including the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) and Caltrain.
SFMTA tweeted Monday that as the “issue makes its way through our legal process,” masks would be required. On Wednesday, BART tweeted: “We are seeking clarity from the state if there is a state level mask mandate for transit that we can use to continue requiring and enforcing a mask mandate.”
The system said masks would still be required “while we review our options”.
Caltrain also said on Tuesday that its mask rule had not changed.
In accordance with the city’s indoor mask mandate, Philadelphia International Airport is requiring masks inside its terminals, even as major airlines have scrapped their rules.
However, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (Septa) said on Wednesday that masks are not required on its vehicles, stations or concourses. Septa does recommend riders wear masks, per guidance from the CDC and the Transportation Security Administration.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Port Authority said in a joint announcement on Tuesday that masks would no longer be required for MBTA or airport travellers.
Masks will still be required, however, on the RIDE paratransit service, and some Regional Transit Authorities still have face-covering rules in place, per the announcement. Passengers are encouraged to check individual RTA rules.
Masks are no longer required at Mitchell International Airport, but the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) said on Tuesday that masks are still required on county buses.
“The decision comes out of an abundance of caution as Covid-19 cases have increased locally over the past three weeks,” MCTS said in an update on its website. “We will continue to monitor the data and follow the scientific guidance to determine when the mask mandate for MCTS buses will be lifted in the future.”