Major US airlines are now making masks optional for passengers and staff alike. This happened after a federal judge in Florida struck down President Joe Biden’s mask mandate for transportation.
Masks Optional For Several US Airlines
On Monday, several US airlines switched to rulemaking masks optional on their aircraft. The relaxed mask rules cover both airline staff and passengers.
The airlines that implemented the new rules include Delta, American, United, Southwest, Alaska, and JetBlue.
Earlier last week, the Biden administration issued an order extending the mask mandate for public transportation for another 15 days.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last April 13 that the mandate was set to expire on April 18. This was a result of another extension issued last March.
The original mask mandate became effective during the start of the pandemic back in 2020. For now, a Biden administration official confirmed that the mask mandate is no longer in effect while they review the ruling.
Delta Air Lines, United Airlines Mask Masks Optional
Delta Air Lines announced that effective immediately, the company will make masks optional for its travelers. It also warned passengers that the next 24 hours may show “inconsistent enforcement” while they disseminate the new policy.
Meanwhile, United Airlines also issued a statement saying that masks are no longer a requirement when traveling in their aircraft.
Whether on domestic or select international flights, they will no longer require masks. In addition, United will also drop the necessity of wearing masks at US airports.
Alaska Airlines, Americans Also Dropping Mask Requirements
In addition, Alaska Airlines and American Airlines also announced that wearing masks is now an optional activity for passengers. However, Alaska Airlines requested that passengers remain considerate.
The company posted an update on its website, saying that individual choices should remain respected. “While we are glad this means many of us to get to see your smiling faces, we understand some might have mixed feelings.
Please remember to be kind to one another and that wearing a mask while traveling is still an option.”
American Airlines also made a similar announcement, dropping mask requirements for both customers and employees at airports and on domestic flights.
However, the company warned that some local areas might have different rules. Based on local ordinances or country requirements, some areas might insist on wearing masks. Alaska airlines also added that passengers banned during the enforcement of the mask policy remain banned.
Southwest and JetBlue Also Announced That Masks Are Optional
Meanwhile, Southwest Airlines said that employees and passengers can still choose to wear a mask if they prefer. “We encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing,” it said.
The airline added that it continues “supporting the comfort of those who travel with us by offering additional layers of protection.”
In addition, JetBlue tweeted Monday that it will make masks optional within the United States. “While no longer required, customers and crewmembers may continue wearing masks in our terminals and on board our aircraft.”
In addition to airlines, ground transportation companies are also following the relaxation of mask mandates. Rail operator Amtrak said that it will no longer require face masks for passengers and employees.
Watch the ABC Action News video reporting that a federal judge voids nationwide mask mandate for mass transit, some airlines drop requirements:
What do you think of the federal judge’s decision to strike down mask mandates issued by the federal government? Will this signal an end to the pandemic? Or, will this mean a resumption of COVID outbreaks in many areas?
Tell us what you think. Share your thoughts in the comment section below.