Healthcare

LA County to keep requiring masks on public transit after ruling on federal mandate

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said on Thursday that the county will continue to require masking on public transportation systems, breaking with a recent ruling by a federal judge in Florida, which struck down the federal mask mandate on transportation systems.

The department noted it is issuing a health order to say that masking will continue to be required in indoor transportation hubs such as bus and airport terminals and on all public transportation — including ride-shares, trains and buses — within Los Angeles County.

The county requirement applies to everyone aged at least two years old, regardless of whether they received the COVID-19 vaccine or not.

“Public Health will reassess the indoor masking requirement when COVID-19 community transmission in Los Angeles County drops to the Moderate level, OR the CDC’s assessment is that an order requiring masking in the transportation corridor is no longer necessary for protection of the public’s health, OR within 30 days of this Order, whichever occurs first,” the department said in a statement.

Earlier this week, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Trump appointee, struck down the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) federal order mandating masking on transportation modes such as planes, buses and trains. 

She ruled that the order exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has since stopped enforcing the requirement as the Biden administration seeks to appeal the decision.

The move has left cities in limbo on how to proceed. The Metro in Washington, D.C., has since made masking optional its public transit, while New York City’s subway system still has the requirement in place.

The Biden administration is still encouraging travelers on public transit to wear masks, according to White House press secretary Jen Psaki.

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