After a federal judge struck down the Transportation Security Administration’s national mask mandate on Monday, face masks are now optional for public transportation, including airplanes and buses.
The mandate had been in place since early 2021.
The ruling gives airports, transit systems, airlines and ride-sharing services the option to keep mask rules or ditch them entirely, resulting in rules that vary by city and mode of transportation.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recently extended the mandate until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus now responsible for the vast majority of US cases. But the court decision put the mandate on hold.
The CDC still recommends wearing masks in indoor public transportation settings, crowded places, or where cases are high.
Kansas City Guidelines
KC Streetcar announced that while face masks will no longer be required, the streetcars will still provide masks and hand sanitizer for riders. Ride KC also announced they would no longer require face masks.
All airlines at KCI, including Delta, American Airlines, Southwest, and United Airlines, announced they will drop their mask requirements.
“Masks are optional. Respect for those still wearing them should be universal,” tweeted Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas early this week after the announcement.
The Justice Department announced on Tuesday that it will not appeal the ruling unless the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines it’s still necessary.