Several airlines drop mask mandate following court ruling, some local requirements remain

NOW: Several airlines drop mask mandate following court ruling, some local requirements remain

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Passengers on a number of airlines including United, Alaska and Delta no longer need to wear a mask.

In addition, TSA says it will no longer enforce masks at airports across the country. This, following Monday's ruling by a federal judge in Florida that struck down the Biden administration mask mandate.

The judge's ruling was for all public transportation including planes, trains and buses. It's still so fresh that here in Milwaukee, things haven't changed just yet. 

Travelers stepping off their evening flights were all masked as they walked through the main concourse. Hearing the judge's decision brought mixed reaction.

"I'd rather see the mandate stay for a little while longer," said airline passenger Abel Travis. 

"Yeah, I think as long as the policy is evidence-based, they should do whatever they want," said passenger Andy Baumgartner.  

The Centers for Disease Control continues to urge people to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings until May 3. 

At Milwaukee Intermodal, signage remains up and masks are still on as passengers wait to head out.

"I would say hallelujah, yeah, long past due for getting rid of the masks," said one Greyhound passenger. 

"I think people should still wear masks and still wear it on trains and buses," said passenger Tasha Clark.

"I don't want to be one of those unlucky few that didn't wear a mask on a bus or a train and ended up passing away from it," said passenger Jerome.

In a statement Monday night, Amtrak said their mask mandate remains in place at this time. 

Experts say with Covid numbers low, it's understandable why people may want to ditch the mask on public transit.

"It's hard for sometimes people to see the value of wearing a mask and making that a mandate when cases at the moment aren't really high, but we're trying to prevent that from happening," said Ajay Seth, associate professor of population health services at UW-Madison.

Seth says even healthy travelers who've been vaccinated may want to continue to wear a mask even if the requirement's lifted.

"The problem becomes if I end up with a breakthrough infection, you know, what will I do next? And if I'm traveling I don’t want to be at my destination unable to, you know, do what I planned to do," said Seth.

Milwaukee County transit is continuing to follow the mask mandate extension that goes until May 3, asking "riders continue being respectful to others, including our operators, and wear a mask on MCTS buses until otherwise directed."

TSA sent us a statement saying, "Due to today's court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its security directives and emergency amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs. TSA will also rescind the new security directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time."


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