Uber joins airlines and Amtrak in ending mask mandates

by Ryan Meilstrup

Photo: Adobe Stock

Following Monday’s ruling by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, which vacated the CDC’s mask mandate, a wide range of private companies and public transportation operations announced that they would no longer enforce a mask mandate.

These policy changes mark the end of the last vestiges of pandemic-era mask mandates that started in the spring of 2020.

Ride-sharing giant Uber announced that it would no longer require masks to be worn during trips. The company announced the new policy on its website on Tuesday. “As of April 19, 2022, riders and drivers are not required to wear masks when using Uber,” the company statement reads.

The release continued, “However, the CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in your area.”

Uber also announced that front seats are allowed to be occupied, and drivers will not be required to have windows open during rides.

Uber’s main rival, Lyft, followed suit, announcing that they would also be shifting their policy by doing away with mask mandates during rides.

In public transportation, the Amtrak rail system announced they would be ending mask mandates on their rail cars, saying:

“While Amtrak passengers and employees are no longer required to wear masks while onboard 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.”

Perhaps no industry was more relieved by the court ruling than the airline industry, which has spent the past month lobbying for the end of mask mandates.

Following the Transportation Safety Administration’s announcement that the agency would no longer be enforcing mask mandates, all the major American airlines announced an end to mask mandates on flights.

Last month, the CEOs of the country’s largest air carriers sent a joint letter to the Biden administration seeking to end the Federal mask mandate.

In the letter, the airline CEOs said, “It makes no sense that people are still required to wear masks on airplanes, yet are allowed to congregate in crowded restaurants, schools, and at sporting events without masks, despite none of these venues having the protective air filtration system that aircraft do.”

Mask mandates put undue strain on airline employees tasked with enforcing the mandate, which sometimes resulted in conflicts with unruly passengers.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, since January 2021, there have been 6,942 unruly passenger incidents, 70 percent of which involved masking rules.

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