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(NEW YORK) — After a federal judge struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s travel mask mandate Monday, several airlines and companies moved to act.
All major airlines, including American, United, Southwest and Delta, said face coverings will now be optional for travelers.
Ride-share companies, such as Uber and Lyft, also said they will not require riders to wear masks as did Amtrak, the passenger railroad service.
Several airports across the company have also dropped their mandates and the Transportation Security Administration said it will not enforce a mask mandate on planes and other public transportation.
Here are some of the companies that have dropped mask mandates so far:
United was among the first airlines to announce it would be dropping its mask mandate following the ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Mizelle.
In a Twitter post, the company shared two photos of the model of the 72-foot-long Brachiosaurus skeleton at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, where United is headquartered — one with and one without a mask.
“More comfortable keeping yours on? Go right ahead … the choice is yours (you look dino-mite either way)!” the statement read.
Similarly on Monday night, American dropped its mask mandate for customers and team members.
The airline said customers may still choose to wear masks and thanked its staff for enforcing the mask mandate since it went into effect in January 2021.
“American Airlines has prioritized the health and safety of its team members and customers throughout the pandemic and has supported the federal government’s measures to slow the spread of COVID-19,” the statement read. “We are deeply grateful to our team members for their enforcement of the mandate, and will share more information about this transition in the coming days.”
Southwest announced Monday it would be mask-optional going forward and welcomed those who decide to keep wearing masks.
“We encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing and to check local airport mask policies when traveling,” a statement read.
The airline also said its planes have “additional layers of protection” to keep passengers and employees safe, including HEPA filters that remove 99.7% of airborne particles.
Delta Air Lines
Delta announced in a statement Monday night that masks would be optional for passengers and employees “effectively immediately.”
The airline said customers should expect “inconsistent enforcement” for the next day until the news reaches all employees.
“Given the unexpected nature of this announcement, please be aware that customers, airline employees and federal agency employees — such as TSA — may be receiving this information at different times,” the airline said.
In a statement Monday, Alaska Airlines said it would be implementing a mask-optional policy.
“Face masks have been like boarding passes for nearly two years — you couldn’t fly without one,” a blog post on the company website read. “But, as of today, masks are optional in airports and onboard aircraft, effective immediately.”
Alaska also encouraged customers to show kindness to those who decide they still want to wear face coverings onboard planes.
“Safety is always our highest priority, so while we love to see your smiling faces in the airport and on board, we respect your decision to keep using this added layer of protection,” the blog post continued. “Above all, we hope you’ll treat each other with kindness and respect throughout the travel journey and beyond.”
On Monday night, JetBlue Airways announced it was updating its policy to make mask-wearing optional.
“While no longer required, customers and crewmembers are welcome to continue wearing masks in our terminals and on board our aircraft,” a statement read.
The airline recommended that passengers and staff traveling internationally carry masks with them in case they are required at their destination.
Hawaiian, the largest operator of flights to and from Hawaii, announced Monday it is dropping its mask mandate for passengers and staff.
“Effective immediately, face masks are optional for our guests and employees onboard Hawaiian Airlines flights,” a statement read. “We ask for our guests’ patience and understanding as we update all our communications and announcements to reflect this change.”
Spirit was among the last airlines to reveal it would be dropping its mask mandate, announcing the news on Twitter shortly after midnight Tuesday.
“Face coverings are now optional for Spirit Team Members and Guests onboarded our flights following the federal court ruling and TSA guidance,” the statement read. “We understand some Guests may want to continue to wear face coverings on flights, and that’s perfectly fine under our optional policy.”
Frontier also announced similar news early Tuesday morning, attributing a statement to Crockett the Racoon, an animal that appears on the tail of one of the company’s aircraft.
“To mask or not to mask, the choice is yours,” the statement on Twitter read. “Masks are now optional on domestic flights, however, certain airports or countries may still require masks, so check the policy at your destination prior to departure and we’ll see you in the sky.”
Ultra low-cost carrier Allegiant shared the news Tuesday afternoon on Twitter, posting a photo of one of its aircraft at Syracuse Hancock International Airport in New York.
To mask or not to mask, that is your choice,” the tweet read. “Consistent with TSA guidance, all Allegiant customers and team members may wear a mask if they choose to, but are no longer required while traveling with us.”
Sun Country Airlines
Sun Country shared a statement Monday night that it would no longer require masking on planes, and thanked passengers for wearing masks in the past.
The airline also encouraged guests to be respectful of those who continue to wear face coverings.
“We look forward to seeing your smiles on board & encourage kindness & respect for those who continue to mask,” the statement read.
Uber was the first ride-share service to announce that riders and drivers would not be required to wear masks.
However, the company echoed CDC guidance to wear masks if people are at high risk of severe disease or if they live in an area with high transmission, and to be respectful of people who choose to wear masks.
“Remember: many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences,” the statement said. “And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip.”
Uber also said it would no longer require people to sit in the back seat, but asked riders to only do so due to the size of their group.
Riders and drivers are also no longer required to wear masks while using Lyft but warned masks may still be required by law in some areas.
Additionally, rides will not be allowed to be canceled on account of someone not wearing a mask.
“While riders and drivers can always cancel any ride they don’t wish to take, health safety reasons — like not wearing a mask — will no longer appear as cancellation options in the app,” a statement read.
The company urged people not to use the service if they have COVID-19 or are experiencing any similar symptoms.”
Amtrak announced on Twitter that it would no longer require passengers and employees and passengers to wear masks while aboard trains or in stations.
However, the company said it would “encourage” anyone who needs or feels that they need to wear a mask.
“Masks are welcome and remain an important preventive measure against COVID-19,” the Twitter statement read. “Anyone needing or choosing to wear one is encouraged to do so.”
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
The Metropolitan Airport Commission originally announced Monday night masks would continue to be required after the federal ruling.
But following the TSA saying it would no longer enforce mask-wearing, the policy was changed for Minneapolis-St. Paul airport.
Travelers will not be required to mask in terminal or other airport facilities or at any of the six general aviation airports.
Portland International Airport
The Oregon airport released a brief statement Monday that masks would no longer be required or enforced .
“Local TSA just advised us they will no longer be enforcing the directive that requires masking in the airport,” the statement read. “Tat means that face coverings are no longer required at PDX.
Tampa International Airport
A statement on the airport’s Twitter account announced mask mandates would be dropped for travelers and staff.
“Per TSA’s removal of its federal mask mandate, masks are now optional at Tampa International Airport, effective immediately,” the tweet read. “Passengers, employees and guests are no longer required [to] wear masks or face coverings in any of the facilities or terminals at TPA.”
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