Following a judge’s ruling on Monday, which invalidated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s transit masking regulations, major U.S. airlines have made wearing masks for both passengers and personnel an option instead of a must.
Although customers are free to continue wearing masks if they so wish, several airlines will no longer mandate passengers to do so for the first time in several years beginning in January 2019.
A list of airlines that no longer need masks can be found here. Prior to arriving at the airport, check the website of your regional airline to ensure that your flight is still operating.
The use of masks is optional:
Alaska Airlines is a commercial airline based in Seattle, Washington.
American Airlines is a commercial airline based in the United States.
Delta Air Lines is a commercial airline based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Frontier Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in the United States.
Southwest Airlines is a low-cost carrier based in Dallas, Texas.
Spirit Airlines is a low-cost carrier that operates in the United States.
United Airlines is a commercial airline based in the United States.
This does not rule out the possibility of having to wear a mask at the airport in the future. Numerous airlines point out that, while their new policy applies to all domestic flights, masks may still be necessary for flights to certain international destinations.
In addition, certain airports, such as Philadelphia International Airport, still require you to wear a mask within the terminal before you board your flight.
The laws for ground transportation are a little more difficult. Masks are no longer needed on Amtrak trains and in Amtrak stations, as well as on some subways, however, they are still required on other public transportation systems in select cities.
It is not yet apparent whether or not the judge’s judgment will be upheld. According to a Biden administration official who spoke to “CBS Mornings,” federal agencies are analyzing the ruling and may still file an appeal.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to advise masking on public transportation.
The news of the judge’s judgment elicited a variety of reactions. Some footage showed airline passengers applauding as they removed their masks, but others stated that they intended to keep them on during the flight.
According to passenger Bob Mounter, who spoke with transportation correspondent Errol Barnett about the ban, “it’s a preventative step.” “If they inform me, for example, that I am no longer required to wear seatbelts, I will continue to do so.”
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It was made following an extension of the mask mandate by two weeks, until May 3, to allow researchers more time to examine the Omicron subvariant BA.2, which was just announced by the Centers for Disease Control.
In an interview with Dr. Céline Gounder, an infectious disease expert and editor-at-large for Kaiser Health said that the CDC’s extension was the “proper” and “conservative” approach in this case.
“We are aware that this virus is capable of mutating. In fact, it is mutating at an alarming rate ” she explained.
“It is likely that we will see other varieties, as well as subsequent pandemics, following COVID. Consequently, I believe that depriving ourselves of a necessary tool and its accompanying toolbox is a really bad decision.”