Mask mandates are still in effect in a small number of places. Here’s where
Mask requirements may be a thing of the past across most of the country, but some local governments and industries remain wary of letting people remain maskless in certain spaces.
On Monday, a Florida judge struck down a federal mandate that would have made masking compulsory on airplanes, trains, taxis, ride shares, and other public transportation until May 3. The judge in question argued that the mandate was an overreach of authority by U.S. health officials.
The White House later called the ruling “disappointing,” but assured that it would not enforce a federal mask mandate.
Since then, several transportation companies including Amtrak, American Airlines, United Airlines, and Delta announced they would no longer require employees or passengers to wear masks while traveling domestically.
“We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lifted to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus,” Delta said in a statement that was later changed following backlash over the suggestion that the latest COVID strains aren’t dangerous.
However, some local governments have taken matters into their own hands and continue to require face coverings. Here are some examples.
Several cities have maintained masking mandates for workers and passengers on transportation networks and passing through major hubs, although rules are changing rapidly.
In New York City, masks are still required on all subways and buses, as well as on some commuter rail lines. Masking is also still required in major transportation hubs within New York State, including John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport, Grand Central Terminal, and the Port Authority Bus Station.
New York City continues to require city taxi and for-hire vehicle passengers to mask up. Ride-share users of Uber and Lyft announced that all drivers and passengers in the U.S. no longer need to wear masks.
In Chicago, masks are still required on all public transport networks under the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), including all trains and buses operating in the city. Passengers on Metra, the Chicago area’s commuter transit system connecting the city to its suburbs, must also mask up, as do passengers at O’Hare International Airport.
In some cities, officials have reinstated mask mandates indoors, eliciting some frustration from local business owners.
Philadelphia became the first city to reinstate a blanket indoor mask ordinance this week, with city health officials citing a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases. The order will apply to all public transport, schools, businesses, museums, restaurants, offices, and government buildings. Businesses can go mask-free if all employees are fully vaccinated and their vaccine certificates are checked regularly.
The new rules have not gone down well with everyone. A group of business owners and city residents banded together over the weekend to sue Philadelphia, accusing the city’s health commissioner of an overreach of power.
Some indoor spaces around the country where more vulnerable people tend to congregate are also retaining their mask mandates.
Hospitals, health care settings, and prisons in New Jersey continue to require masks, the governor announced Tuesday. Major hospitals in Connecticut also said they will continue enforcing face coverings in clinical settings, despite the state’s mandate on masking in hospitals, nursing homes, and homeless shelters having expired last week.
Not all states are reinforcing mask requirements in health care settings. Hospitals in the Houston area, for instance, plan to roll back masking rules in public spaces.
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