MSP Airport, Metro Transit no longer enforcing masks following federal ruling
For the first time in almost two years, masks are no longer mandatory at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport or on Metro Transit buses and trains.
The decisions from the Metropolitan Airports Commission and Metro Transit came after a federal judge on Monday struck down a national public transportation mandate and the Transportation Security Administration announced it will no longer enforce the use of masks.
Delta, Sun Country, United and other major airlines servicing MSP also dropped their mask requirements aboard flights.
A Metro Transit spokesperson said that following the federal order Monday, there is no local mask requirement in place for public transportation.
“Metro Transit encourages all riders to travel responsibly to protect their health and the health of those around them,” the spokesman wrote. “We are encouraging bus operators to bring extra masks with them to be made available to those who wish to use them. Riders are also encouraged to avoid transit if they are ill and to spread out if space is available.”
The mask requirement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covered airlines, airports, mass transit and taxis, and was the biggest vestige of pandemic restrictions that were once the norm across the country. The national health agency had most recently extended its order through May 3.
The decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida, said the CDC failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking procedures that left it fatally flawed.
In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the only remedy was to vacate the rule entirely across the country because it would be impossible to end it for the limited group of people who objected in the lawsuit.
The judge said “a limited remedy would be no remedy at all” and courts have full authority to make a decision such as this — even if the CDC’s goals in fighting the virus are laudable.
Tuesday morning marked the first time people could legally choose to not wear a mask inside of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport for the first time in two years.
The decision comes with mixed emotions for travelers, with some saying it’s about time, and others say they’re not ready to take their masks off while traveling.
“It felt different, nice. Actually, it was really different to see the pilot come on the flight with no mask, and then the flight attendants wearing no masks,” said Tom and Chanda Lyons.
“I think it’s for our own protection because COVID is still going around. I think people are just so tired of wearing masks,” said fellow traveler Jennifer Fisco.
The major airlines who updated their rules right away include:
- American Airlines
- Sun Country
Overnight, Uber dropped its mask requirement for riders, and issued the following statement on its website:
As of April 19, 2022, riders and drivers are not required to wear masks when using Uber. However, the CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in your area. Remember: many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences. And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip.Uber
So far, Lyft has not issued a statement on this ruling.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.