What You Should Know About Wearing Requirements on Public Transport
A federal judge in Florida overturned a federal mandate requiring passengers to wear masks on all forms of public transportation , including on planes and trains. Does this mean that masks have disappeared everywhere? Not really.
Federal mandate suspended
First of all: yes, this court decision means that the federal rule does not apply at the federal level.
The Biden administration has said that rule is not in effect right now, although they are exploring “next steps” that could include new rules or lawsuits – so consider this temporary. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) also said it was not fulfilling the mandate.
Masks are still required in some places
Just because a federal rule isn’t followed doesn’t mean it automatically becomes free for everyone.
First of all, it is still recommended to wear a mask on trains, planes, buses and other places where you are in an enclosed space with other people. The CDC continues to recommend that people wear a mask, even if it’s not required by regulation or law.
The cabin crew association urged its members to “contact your airline for information about the new policy,” which is also good advice for passengers. They note that new policies can take 24 to 48 hours to roll out and implement, so if you’re flying today and are told you must wear a mask, they’d like you to take it easy and not give the crew a hard time about it. (Reading between the lines, they seem a little relieved. Flight attendants have been attacked in rule-enforcement incidents.)
Politics now depends on the agencies and companies that manage transit.
Uber, Lyft and Amtrak have announced that they will not enforce their mask-wearing rules, as several airlines have done.
On the other hand, the Chicago CTA and Metra have announced that they are still enforcing their mask requirements. The New York MTA also enforces them. But several transit authorities, including New Jersey Transit, first announced they were keeping the mandate and then reversed course.
This situation is changing by the minute, so bring a mask with you (or better yet, wear one anyway) and don’t be surprised if the policy on you changes.