MTA stands firm on mask mandate for subways, buses, trains

The federal government will not enforce the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation after a federal judge struck down the mandate on Monday, prompting several airlines to drop the requirement. However, masks are still required on New York subways, buses, and commuter trains.

"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," the Transportation Security Administration said in a statement. "CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time."

The White House confirmed that the court ruling means that for now the mask order "is not in effect at this time."

"The CDC recommended continuing the order for additional time, two weeks, to be able to assess the latest science in keeping with its responsibility to protect the American people," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. "So this is obviously a disappointing decision. The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit."

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United, Delta, Southwest, and American all announced that they no longer require passengers or crew to wear masks. 

But New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the nation's largest public transit system, will keep mask-wearing mandates in place for now.

"The mask requirement on public transit in NY remains in effect for now pursuant to a March 2, 2022 determination by the New York State Department of Health," MTA spokesperson Tim Minton said in a statement. "We are continuing to follow CDC guidelines and will review the Florida court order."

The MTA manages New York City subways and buses, the Staten Island Railway, the LIRR, and the Metro-North Railroad. 

New Jersey Transit dropped its mask requirement on Tuesday. It runs buses, a commuter railroad, and light rail lines.

With The Associated Press.