LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — For the first time in two years, passengers traveling via a plane, train, or other forms of public transportation can take off their masks while in transit.
In a ruling Monday, a federal judge declared the CDC's mask mandate "unlawful." The Transportation Security Administration later acknowledged it would not enforce the mandate on public transportation and transportation hubs.
LEX 18 spoke to passengers who were roaming the Bluegrass Airport on a dreary Monday afternoon. Some of them were hearing the news for the first time.
"I would be comfortable not wearing the mask if given the option," said Caroline Younkin, who was flying to visit family in Colorado.
Others said they felt more comfortable wearing the mask, despite the elimination of the mandate.
"I have elderly parents that live with me," said Larry Croom. "So I'm much more comfortable knowing I have [the mask] on and am doing everything I can do."
Hours after the ruling was issued, the four largest U.S. airlines--Delta, United, Southwest, and American--announced they would not require masks on their flights.
A press release from Delta read, in part: "Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside U.S. airports and on board all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights."
Last week, the CDC extended its mask mandate for travel by 15 days, until May 3, citing the rise in COVID-19 cases in the country. The CDC explained it needed more time to assess the severity of the BA.2 variant, an Omicron subvariant that is fueling a rise in cases.