After initial hesitance, Puget Sound transit agencies officially end mask requirements

Apr 19, 2022, 8:53 AM | Updated: 10:57 am

King County transit...

A King County Metro employee sanitizes a bus. (Getty Images)

(Getty Images)

After some had initially signaled that masking rules would remain in place despite a Monday ruling from a federal judge, Puget Sound region transit agencies have announced that facial coverings will no longer be required.

Masking rules no longer in effect at Sea-Tac Airport, Paine Field

On Monday, a federal judge in Florida ruled that health officials do not have the authority to enforce mask mandates on federal transportation, spanning airports and government-operated transit agencies. Shortly after that ruling, King County Metro indicated that it planned to keep its requirements in place, citing how a potential appeal from the U.S. Justice Department could “lead to a delay in implementation, or for the decision to be altered or overruled.”

Sound Transit and Kitsap Transit both echoed that sentiment, at the time, similarly opting to keep its mandate in place, albeit without plans to enforce it.

Conversely, Washington State Ferries quickly aligned its policy with the new federal standard on Monday, as did Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and Paine Field.

Then on late Tuesday morning, Puget Sound agencies — including Metro, Sound Transit, Seattle Center Monorail, Seattle Streetcar, Kitsap Transit, Pierce Transit, Everett Transit, and Community Transit — issued a joint statement officially ending masking rules for all public transit providers in the region.

Rideshare services like Lyft and Uber ended their own respective masking rules for both riders and drivers on Tuesday as well.

Despite Monday’s court ruling, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention still “recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”

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After initial hesitance, Puget Sound transit agencies officially end mask requirements