The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority today announced that effective immediately, face masks on all Metro bus and rail lines operating in L.A. County will now be strongly recommended but no longer required. This follows a Florida federal court decision yesterday that eliminated the mask mandate on public transportation and airplanes nationwide.
Metro will now make wearing face masks on public transit optional and will continue to recommend riders wear masks while onboard transit vehicles to help protect their health and those of fellow riders whenever possible.
“After a devastating winter surge that threatened the integrity of our healthcare system, the county is now enjoying low community levels of COVID-19. With more tools at our disposal to combat this virus, including wider availability of vaccines, tests and therapeutics, the county can continue to progress towards its new normal,” First District supervisor and chair of the Metro board Hilda L. Solis said. “However, it is important to recognize that we still live in a pandemic, thus face masks will continue to be strongly recommended on public transit to keep ourselves and those around us safe. I urge our residents to continue to remain vigilant and look out for one another as we move forward.”
Metro’s decision to make face masks optional while continuing to encourage their use is consistent with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which still recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.
“As we continue to emerge from the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, our number one goal will always be to ensure the safety of our transit customers and employees,” Metro CEO Stephanie N. Wiggins said. “Masks are now strongly recommended, and we’d like everyone to continue to be mindful and vigilant in protecting themselves and others from the evolving threat of this virus.”
Metro’s announcement today follows the Transportation Security Administration’s own cancellation of its security directives and emergency amendment requiring face mask use on public transportation and at transportation hubs.
During the federal face mask requirement period, Metro observed 95% voluntary compliance of the requirement. As part of its previous efforts to ensure safe travel on public transit during the pandemic, Metro installed face masks dispensers at major transit hubs and freely distributed masks to riders throughout the Los Angeles County region. For additional information, visit metro.net.
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