Federal Judge Overturns Transportation Mask Mandate

Amtrak announced late Monday that while masks would no longer be required onboard trains, they would be “welcome and remain an important preventative measure against COVID-19.” Photo by Justin Franz. 

Federal Judge Overturns Transportation Mask Mandate

By Justin Franz 

WASHINGTON — A federal judge in Florida overturned the transportation mask mandate on Monday, just days after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention had extended it yet again until early May. The sudden decision by Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle left many transportation providers — from airlines to commuter railroads — wondering what exactly to do and looking for guidance from others. 

At the beginning of the pandemic, many transportation providers, including Amtrak, began to require employees and passengers to wear masks on trains and in stations. It later became a federal requirement. On Monday, White House officials said that the Transportation Security Administration would not enforce the order while they reviewed it and decided whether or not they would appeal the decision. 

Some agencies, like Chicago’s Metra, announced that they planned to keep the mask mandate in place for now. Amtrak, however, said it would not be enforcing it. 

“While Amtrak passengers and employees are no longer required to wear masks while on board trains or in stations, masks are welcome and remain an important preventive measure against COVID-19. Anyone needing or choosing to wear one is encouraged to do so,” an Amtrak official told Railfan & Railroad. 

This article was posted on: April 18, 2022