Updated Apr 19, 2022 - Economy & Business

How companies are responding to traveler mask mandate ruling

Photo of a masked person walking toward an automatic glass door that has a sticker saying "Face coverings required"

The Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Arlington, Va., on April 14. Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua via Getty Images

Monday's court ruling striking down the federal traveler mask mandate was met with mixed reactions as companies scrambled to respond.

Driving the news: Several airlines — including the four largest in the U.S. — Uber, Lyft and Amtrak dropped their masking requirements following the Transportation Security Administration's announcement that it will no longer enforce a mandate.

  • Other transit services did not take immediate steps and say they're awaiting further guidance from the government.

State of play: United, American, Delta and Southwest Airlines all announced that mask requirements would be suspended in the U.S., and on select international flights, effective immediately.

  • JetBlue Airways said Monday evening that masks would be optional in the U.S.
  • Face masks are also now optional onboard all Alaska Airlines and Horizon Air.
  • Uber announced Tuesday that riders and drivers are not required to wear masks, though it stressed that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still recommend them for people with certain risk factors or those living in areas with high transmission levels.
  • Lyft announced Tuesday that masks will be optional for both riders and drivers, and that Lyft rules will no longer require that the front seat be kept empty or that the windows remain open. Riders and drivers will still be able to cancel rides if they wish, but health safety reasons like no masks will no longer appear as a cancellation option.
  • Amtrak also announced that passengers and employees are no longer required to wear masks while onboard trains or in stations.

Meanwhile, several leading transport agencies in key U.S. cities said they would not make any immediate changes to mask requirements. These include:

Worth noting: During the pandemic, airlines have struggled to process unruly passengers; many of these disruptive incidents begin due to travelers' refusal to adhere to the mask mandate.

Editor's note: This article has been updated with announcements from more airlines and transportation companies.

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