While the ruling has come to an end, many airlines and ways of transportations encourage to use masks optionally.
After more than two years, the ruling that mandated the use of facemasks onboard planes and other public transport, airports, and train stations has come to an end as of this Monday, April 18.
The ruling was canceled after Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, Donald Trump’s nominee to the district court in Tampa (Florida), found that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order “exceeds the legal authority” of that U.S. national public health agency.
The federal government had recently renewed this obligation to use face masks on public transportation until at least May 3, in the midst of a resurgence of the covid-19 pandemic caused by the BA.2 subvariant.
However, the CDC continues to recommend “that people continue to wear facemasks in enclosed places associated with public transportation,” but they can no longer enforce it.
What could it mean in the future?
Federal government agencies are still reviewing the judge’s ruling and considering possible steps, but it is not clear that Americans will be required to wear face masks again on planes, trains, buses, or subways in the future.
The government had extended the mandatory use of face masks on all transportation networks ordered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which applied to airplanes, airports, buses, and railroads, on April 13 for an additional two weeks.
No mask only on U.S soil
It is important to highlight that the end of the mandate is valid only for American airlines that have to stick to homeland regulations, however, international airlines can make passengers wear a mask and many airports around the world still require travelers to wear a mask.
Besides, some airlines like Delta, warned travelers that they may encounter “inconsistent enforcement” over the first 24 hours as the news is being “broadly communicated,” said in a statement.
Uber joins the no mask mandate
After the mandate came to an end, Uber was one of the first to respond saying it will no longer be mandatory to wear a facemask for neither the driver nor the passenger but recalled that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommends them for people with risk factors.
The company also indicated that “many people” still feel safer wearing a facemask for personal or family health reasons and asked to be respectful of these preferences.
In fact, Uber said in its notice that if a passenger or driver feels uncomfortable at any time because of the other’s decision not to wear a mask, “they can always cancel the ride.”
The CDC and face masks
According to the CDC, using a mask is a critical public health tool for preventing the spread of COVID-19, saying that “any mask is better than no mask.”
It recommends using a face covering to protect yourself and others from contracting covid-19, especially for people with a high risk of infection, severe illness, or immunocompromised.
With information from EFE