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Masks no longer required by Capital Metro or Austin's airport following court ruling

People wear masks on a Cap Metro bus
Gabriel C. Pérez
A federal judge has struck down the Biden administration's requirement that travelers wear masks on public transportation.

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Capital Metro and Austin-Bergstrom International Airport are no longer requiring travelers to wear masks after a federal judge on Monday struck down a national mandate.

The Transportation Security Administration had issued the federal requirement at the suggestion of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Last week, the order was extended to May 3. On Monday, however, U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle called the mandate "unlawful" and said the CDC exceeded its administrative authority.

The TSA then waived all mask mandates on public transit.

Cap Metro said the transit authority won't require masks, though it reminded potential passengers that the CDC still recommends masking up on buses and trains.

"Effective immediately, customers are no longer required to wear masks while using CapMetro services," Tawaun Cole, a spokesperson for CapMetro, said in a statement. "This is following the announcement from the TSA. The CDC is still encouraging customers to mask up to protect themselves while using public transportation."

ABIA said it would continue to encourage travelers to wear masks "in accordance with public health advice issued by Austin Public Health" and said people should contact individual airlines to ask about policies while flying.

Several major airlines announced they were lifting mask requirements following the court's ruling.

Andrew Weber is a general assignment reporter for KUT, focusing on criminal justice, policing, courts and homelessness in Austin and Travis County. Got a tip? You can email him at Follow him on Twitter @England_Weber.
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