Los Gatos Weekly Times
Transit agencies end mask mandates
The Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Bay Area Rapid Transit, Caltrain and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency announced April 20 they were dropping their mask requirements aboard buses, trains and paratransit vehicles and at facilities.
The news comes after a federal judge in Florida voided a mask mandate on mass transit and airplanes April 18, prompting airlines to roll back their masking requirements. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention previously extended the mandate through May 3. The CDC announced April 20 it would appeal the ruling, declaring in a statement “at this time an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health.”
But for now, airlines, airports, ridesharing companies and many transit agencies have dropped their mask mandates as the legal and political showdown over masks continues to play out.
“In light of recent decisions by the federal government to lift mask requirements on public transit, VTA is strongly recommending, but not requiring passengers and employees to wear masks,” said VTA spokesperson Stacey Hendler Ross in a news release.
Ross emphasized that the lifting of requirements “does not signal an end to the COVID-19 pandemic” and that experts “still recommend wearing face masks in a variety of settings, including mass transit.”
The VTA in the process of taking down signs requiring masks.
Caltrain, BART and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency on April 20 also announced they would no longer require riders to wear masks inside their vehicles and facilities. However, all three agencies encouraged riders to continue wearing masks.
“While masks are no longer required, guests can and are strongly encouraged to continue wearing them,” Caltrain said in a social media post announcing the shift in policy.