MTA, NJ Transit, Amtrak to still require masks after judge’s decision to void mandate on airplanes, public transportation

NEW YORK (WABC) – A federal judge’s decision to strike down the national mask mandate covering airlines and other public transportation Monday, is having a ripple effect across the Tri-State area as agencies respond.

The ruling appeared to free operators to make their own decisions about mask requirements, with the several major airlines: Delta, American, Southwest, JetBlue and United all announcing they would drop mandates, but New York City’s public transit system is planning to keep one in place.

In New York, Metropolitan Transportation Authority communications director Tim Minton said the system was “continuing to follow CDC guidelines and will review the Florida court order.”

The MTA operates New York City buses and subway trains as well as two commuter rail lines. Face coverings have been mandatory on all trains and buses since early in the pandemic.

NJ Transit also announced that masks will continue to be required onboard all vehicles.

However, Amtrak announced that passengers and employees will no longer be required to mask while on board trains or in stations. They say “Masks are welcome and remain an important preventive measure against COVID-19.”

Here’s the latest list of transportation agencies in the Tri-State and where they stand in regards to Monday’s ruling:


“The mask requirement on public transit in NY remains in effect for now pursuant to a March 2, 2022 determination by the New York State Department of Health,” MTA Communications Director Tim Minton said regarding masks on public transit.

Port Authority

Has not announced updated guidance at this time, but originally required masks to be worn at all times. Port Authority, operates the bus terminal and the Path, as well as John F. Kennedy, Newark and LaGuardia airports.


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

NJ Transit

“Masks will continue to be required onboard NJ TRANSIT vehicles while we continue to monitor the outcome of this case. NJ TRANSIT will continue to comply with all federal and state health guidance as we have since the onset of the pandemic.”

List of national airlines and where they stand:

“Effective immediately, masks are optional for all airport employees, crew members and customers inside US airports and on board all aircraft domestically, as well as on most international flights.”

“Delta employees and customers may continue wearing masks if they so choose. Wearing a well-fitting mask protects the wearer, even if others around them are not wearing masks.”

Alaska Airlines
“Due to a judicial decision in our federal court system, the mask mandate has been overturned, which means our guests and employees have the option to wear a mask while traveling in the US and at work.”

Note: Guests must continue to wear masks on flights both to and from Canada.

United Airlines
“Effective immediately, masks are no longer required at United on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival of the country’s mask requirements) or at US airports.”

American Airlines
“In accordance with the Transportation Security Administration no longer enforcing the federal face mask mandate, face masks will no longer be required for our customers and team members at US 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
“Effectively immediately, Southwest Employees and Customers will be able to choose whether they would like to wear a mask, and we encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing.”

“In line with Monday’s federal court ruling and the TSA’s guidance, mask wearing will now be optional on JetBlue within the US While no longer required, customers and crewmembers may continue wearing masks in our terminals and on board our aircraft.”

Spirit Airlines
“Face coverings are now optional for Spirit Team Members & Guests onboard our flights following the federal court ruling and TSA guidance. We understand some Guests may want to continue wearing face coverings on flights, and that’s perfectly fine under our optional policy. For our Guests traveling internationally, please remember to check country-specific airport requirements before traveling. “

ALSO READ | Man who spotted subway shooting suspect Frank R. James, flagged down officers speaks out


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on coronavirus
Submit a COVID Question

Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.

Leave a Comment