Metro lifted its mask requirement on Monday hours after a court voided the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national travel mask mandate.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s decision comes as several public transportation agencies and airlines nationwide also lifted their mask requirements. Paul Wiedfield, WMATA’s general manager and chief executive officer, said in a release that the agency will “continue to monitor” federal action.
“Metro encourages its customers to make decisions that are in their best interests,” the release states.
Monday’s ruling struck down the CDC rule requiring all travelers to wear masks on airplanes, buses, trains and other modes of public transportation. Many major airlines – including Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, American Airlines, Alaska Airlines and Southwest Airlines – quickly dropped their requirements.
The Transportation Security Agency announced they would no longer enforce the mandate in light of the court’s ruling.
“TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs,” the agency said in a statement. “TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect tomorrow. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”
WMATA began enforcing its mask mandate in May 2020, and the federal mandate was imposed in February 2021 shortly after President Joe Biden took office. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said at a briefing on Monday that the Department of Homeland Security and the CDC are reviewing the judge’s decision.
“This is obviously a disappointing decision,” Psaki said. “The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit.”