Airlines, airports, ride-share services drop mask requirements after ruling

Several airports, airlines and ride-share services have dropped their face mask requirements for passengers after a ruling struck down the federal mandate. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI

April 19 (UPI) — Travel by air or public transportation looked different Tuesday, the day after a federal judge struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate for public transportation.

Several airports, airlines and ride-share services quickly dropped their mask requirements for passengers.

Delta dropped the rule but warned travelers its messaging may take a while to change: “Communications to customers and in-airport signage and announcements will be updated to share that masking is now optional.”

JetBlue, Alaska, Hawaiian, Southwest and United airlines also dropped mask requirements, while recommending travelers keep masks on hand in case of different rules where they land.

While many airports made masks “optional” Tuesday, Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport announced it will continue to enforce masks for travelers.

“The safety and security of passengers and employees is the highest priority for the Chicago Department of Aviation,” the airport tweeted.

Uber and Lyft dropped their mask requirements in the United States and Uber will allow passengers to ride in the front seat again.


The swift turnaround to maskless travel comes a day after a federal judge in Florida struck down the Biden administration’s mask mandate aimed at prevent the spread of COVID-19.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a 2020 appointee of former President Donald Trump, ruled the February 2021 mask mandate unconstitutional. Mizelle ruled the administration lacks the statutory authority to impose the mandate under the 1944 Public Health Service Act, which allows the government to impose restrictions for “sanitation.”

Former U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, who served under Trump, blasted the ruling and called on the White House to “vaccinate under 5, boost more adults, improve ventilation, and make N95s available to all who need them.”


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