With the national mask mandate on airplanes and mass public transit voided this week by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, face masks are now optional on area mass transit.
Local transit agencies DART, Trinity Metro, and the Denton County Transportation Authority all issued statements after the judge's decision sharing the latest on guidance with riders. Those statements are below.
In all cases, masks are no longer required to be worn by riders or operators but are still recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
DART MASK STATEMENT
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Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) will no longer require that a face mask be worn by passengers and operators while onboard DART vehicles or at DART facilities.
DART remains committed to providing a safe environment for both our passengers and employees. Face masks and hand sanitizer dispensers will remain in place and available on all buses, light rail vehicles, TRE vehicles and Dallas streetcars, for anyone who chooses to continue to wear a face mask for additional safety.
DART continues to undertake aggressive agency-wide cleaning and safety protocols on buses, light rail, paratransit vehicles and properties.
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You can find more information about how DART is working to keep our passengers safe at www.dart.org/health
TRINITY METRO MASK STATEMENT
In response to the federal judge's ruling and to align with the Transportation Security Administration's decision to not enforce the mask mandate on planes and other public transportation, Trinity Metro will no longer require masks on any of our vehicles or in our facilities.
Passengers, operators and conductors may continue wearing masks if they prefer to do so.
DCTA MASK STATEMENT
The Denton County Transportation Authority will no longer require passengers or operators wear face coverings on vehicles or in facilities. DCTA's top priority is keeping passengers and employees healthy and ensuring a safe commute for our riders. Masks continue to be available for both riders and operators who choose to wear them. Enhanced cleaning measures remain in place.
"We appreciate the public's patience over the past two years as we have navigated through the COVID-19 pandemic," Paul Cristina, DCTA Interim CEO said. "DCTA is committed to the health and safety of our passengers and we look forward to continue serving you."
Along with removing the mask requirement, DCTA is also reopening the Downtown Denton Transit Center (DDTC) to the public. The building will be open from 7 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday beginning April 25.
Although masks are no longer required, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.
For more information about DCTA's COVID-19 response, please visit RideDCTA.net.
AIRPORTS, AA, SWA REVISE MASK POLICIES
Major U.S. airlines, including North Texas' two largest airports, rushed to drop their masking requirements after the judge's decision Monday. Below are the statements from both Dallas-based Southwest Airlines and Fort Worth-based American Airlines.
AMERICAN AIRLINES: MASKS NO LONGER REQUIRED
"In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration no longer enforcing the federal face mask mandate," American Airlines said in a statement Monday. "Face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at U.S. airports and on domestic flights. Please note face masks may still be required based on local ordinances, or when traveling to/from certain international locations based on country requirements."
SOUTHWEST AIRLINES: MASKS NO LONGER REQUIRED
"Effective immediately, Southwest Employees and Customers will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask on flights, at domestic airports, and at some international locations," a statement from Southwest Airlines read.