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Travelers have mixed reactions following end of mask mandate on public transport in Louisville

According to a statement from the airport, masks may still be required by individual airlines and for international travel.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Masks are no longer required on two public transportation options in Louisville following a federal judge's ruling.

According to a statement from the Muhammad Ali International Airport (SDF), individuals will not have to wear masks at the airport, effective immediately.

Natalie Chaudoin, the director of public relations for SDF, said individual airlines may require masks and travelers may need to wear one if they're traveling internationally.

"Travelers are encouraged to check with your airlines and flight destination regarding any face covering requirements," Chaudoin said in a statement.

Travelers at the airport Tuesday had mixed reactions following the sudden announcement. Some were excited about the move, others were choosing to continue wearing masks. 

“I travel all the time and I think it’s well overdue," Richard Benson said. 

“There’s just so many people we don’t really care for it, so we’re going to keep wearing our masks," Shirley Bevil said.

TARC, Louisville's bus system, is following suit. According to a statement on their Facebook page, masks are no longer required for TARC employees, customers or visitors.

"We will closely monitor any new regulations and make adjustments if needed," the company said in the post.

Due to a federal judge ruling in Florida, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is no longer enforcing the...

Posted by Transit Authority of River City (TARC) on Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Lillian Brents, President of ATU Local 1447, the union representing TARC drivers, said union members are still wary of removing masks. 

“It's still a safety concern, not only with the drivers but with the riders," she said. "We are the frontline to the frontline, we assist people going to work, going to the grocery store, going to the doctor.”

Brents said the union would continue encouraging drivers to do what makes them most comfortable. 

"They feel the same as they felt six months ago, a year ago, the last thing they want is to get sick," she said. “We’re always going to encourage a safe working environment and so however employees or members see what is best and safe for them.”

At the airport, travelers and workers are making a similar choice. 

“I don’t know, maybe another year I’ll take mine off, but I’m going to keep wearing it," Bevil said. 

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa voided the national mask mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials in the coronavirus pandemic. 

Following the announcement, the Transportation Security Administration announced it wouldn’t enforce a January 2021 security directive that applied to airplanes, airports, taxis and other mass transit.

The CDC had previously extended the mask mandate for public transportation until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant. It was originally supposed to expire on April 18.  


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