Following a judge’s ruling on Monday thatUS airlines have made wearing masks optional for both passengers and employees. Although customers are free to continue to wear masks if they choose, passengers will not be required to wear masks on many carriers for the first time in years.
These are some of the airlines that no longer require masks. For regional airlines, you should check your carrier’s website before heading to the airport.
This does not mean that you will never have to wear a mask at the airport. Many of the airlines note that while their new policies apply to all domestic flights, masks may still be required to fly to some international destinations. And some airports, like Philadelphia International Airport, still require masks inside their terminals before you fly.
For land travel, the rules are a bit more complicated. Masks are no longer required on Amtrak trains and at Amtrak stations, and on some subways, but transit systems in some cities still require them.
It is not yet clear if the judge’s decision will stand. Federal agencies are reviewing the decision and may still appeal, a Biden administration official confirmed toThe CDC still encourages the use of masks on public transportation.
News of the judge’s decision generated mixed reactions. Some videos showed plane passengers cheering as they removed their masks, but other people said they plan to keep them on.
“It’s a preventative measure,” commuter Bob Mounter told CBS News transportation correspondent Errol Barnett. “If they tell me, for example, that I don’t have to wear seat belts anymore, I’ll keep wearing them.”
The decision came after the CDC recently extended the mask mandate by two weeks, through May 3, to give researchers more time to study Omicron’s BA.2 subvariant.
Dr Céline Gounder, infectious disease expert and managing editor of Kaiser Health News,that the CDC extension was the “appropriate” and “cautious” approach.
“We know that this virus mutates. It is mutating very rapidly,” he said. “We will see more variants and we will see other pandemics after COVID. So I think the idea of stripping away an essential tool and toolbox is very bad.”