NJ Transit, SEPTA end mask mandates following court ruling
NJ Transit is no longer enforcing its mask policy and has made them optional following a federal judge's decision that voided the CDC mandate.
The decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa nixed the policy on all modes of public transportation including airplanes, buses and trains as well as airports and train stations.
On Tuesday morning, Gov. Phil Murphy announced the new rule on Twitter.
"Masks will no longer be required on NJ Transit & by South Jersey Transportation Authority. Individuals may wear a mask based on personal preference, informed by personal level of risk," his tweet said.
It was a reversal of a statement Monday night from the agency that said it would wait out the appeals process and continue to enforce policy.
SEPTA announced Monday that it was no longer requiring masks despite a mandate in effect by the City of Philadelphia. PATCO and Amtrak also lifted their mask mandate.
American, Jet Blue, United, Delta and Alaska Airlines all said they will not enforce masks on planes.
Where are masks still required
Philadelphia International Airport said it would continue to enforce a mask policy citing the City of Philadelphia mandate.
The MTA told NBC 4 New York it was going to continue enforcement of the policy on New York City subways, Metro-North and Long Island Rail Road citing a New York State Department of Health policy.
What about Port Authority facilities?
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said masks were still required on PATH trains and stations.
They are also required at its New York facilities including JFK, LaGuardia and Stewart International, the Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal, the George Washington Bridge Bus Station and the World Trade Center Oculus Transportation Hub.
The mandate was lifted for Newark Liberty and Teterboro Airports.
State Sen. Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, who criticized Murphy for initially keeping the mandate in place, was still critical when he changed the policy.
"Do I give the governor credit for finally seeing that our constant, irrational foot-dragging on the relaxation of restrictions was bad policy that hurt our economy & our kids education & development?!? No," O'Scanlon told New Jersey 101.5 via text message.
"Just as with the elimination of mask mandate guidance nationally last spring, the governor hasn't seen the light. He's just responding to the heat! Given the unyielding history of this administration, we'd be locked down until covid zero if not for the constant pressure from those of us actually paying attention to the science."
After the ruling was announced, The White House said that the mask mandate was in not in effect "for now." The TSA said it was no longer enforcing the mandate.
Dan Alexander is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org
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