SOUTHEASTERN N.C. — Local transportation authorities are dropping mask requirements following a federal judge ruling against the federal transportation mask mandate, which was expanded to mid-May just last week.
A judge in Florida decided Monday the mandate exceeded the authority of U.S. health officials in response to the pandemic, according to The News & Observer. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will no longer enforce the security measure.
This verdict places mask mandates in the hands of local transit systems. The CDC still suggests the public wear them as Covid-19 cases have seen an uptick over the last few weeks due to the dominant omicron subvariant.
Wave Transit released a statement Tuesday that its customers and employees are no longer required to wear masks on transit vehicles or in its facilities. Though the authority does encourage the use of masks for customers and staff who are at higher risk of severe illness, according to a press release.
Riders who want to wear masks will still be able to obtain one through the transit system; all Covid-19 cleaning and disinfection protocols will remain in place.
Wilmington International Airport officials also made mask wearing optional within its terminal and on board certain flights. Airport officials did note that individual airlines still reserve the right to require masks aboard planes, according to a press release. Travelers should consult their airline requirements prior to flying.
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