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Airport passengers, IndyGo riders react to end of travel mask mandate

Travel mask mandate ended
Posted at 6:52 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 20:16:18-04

INDIANAPOLIS — The federal mask mandate for public transit is gone.

The Transportation Security Administration made that decision after a federal judge in Florida voided that mandate Monday evening.

That means you can fly and ride buses and trains without a face covering.

Cheers of excitement roared on flights as attendants announced the mandate had been lifted.

"We dodged a bullet," said Ashley Lowrie.

Ashley Lowrie says flying from Indianapolis with her three children is going to be much easier now without masks.

Her daughter Dylan described previous travel experiences as, "not really good."

Airport passengers could be seen with and without masks.

It was the same story for IndyGo bus riders.

"We feel happy like you're free. Don't gotta keep wearing masks. We need to breathe," said Antwon Parnell.

Lynece Manson added, "I just like to have it sometimes just for comfort, peace of mind."

Last week, the White House extended the public transportation federal mandate until early May to study the Omicron sub-variant.

A federal judge in Florida threw out the order, claiming it's unlawful and exceeds the CDC's authority.

This decision comes as local COVID-19 hospitalizations have dropped. Hospitals are still full of other patients.

"We are seeing patients that are sicker, so hospitals are still very busy even though COVID numbers are lower," said Indiana Hospital Association President, Brian Tabor.

The Marion County Public Health Department says vaccination rates have also dropped nearly 95% since January.

"As a vaccinated nurse, I am very comfortable not wearing a mask in the open airport but as soon as we get on the plane and conditions are closer I will definitely wear a mask the whole time then," said Lyn Watson.

Transit riders say while they're happy this is one step closer to normalcy, many are erring on the side of caution.

"I think it's too early to tell cause anything can change," said Manson.

"I'm gonna keep it just in case, 'cause you never know. I mean, if the mayor tested positive a week ago that lets you know it can still happen," said Lamar Tanksley.