Travelers enjoy airport face mask rule changes
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) - Most travelers at West Virginia International Yeager Airport are no longer wearing face masks after a federal judge in Florida eliminated the nationwide mask mandate on airplanes and other mass transit earlier this week.
The Department of Justice is appealing that ruling at the request of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and this conflicting information is creating some confusion for passengers and airline officials.
David Powe said the flight attendant on his plane from Florida to Charleston had to make a correction to an announcement because the flight crew made a mistake about the mask rules. Powe was one of only three people to keep their masks on for the flight after most people ended up taking their mask off.
“It’s a mess,” Powe said. “But, I kept mine on because I am used to it.”
“I am just glad it is no more, no more masks,” Powe said. “I am fine with that. I am perfectly fine.”
Airlines and airports are now able to make their own decisions about mask requirements even as this case is appealed. It’s unclear when a court could possibly put a mask mandate back into place, but most places are currently not requiring masks despite the CDC extending the mask mandate until May 3.
In the CRW terminal, face mask signs have been removed from doors. However, there are still plenty of sanitizing stations and social distancing markers on the floor.
Travelers are asked to check with their specific airline for mask policies before heading to the airport, and airport officials also recommend having a mask with you in case your destination requires masks inside the airport.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it will no longer enforce mask requirements and ride sharing companies, like Uber, have also lifted mask rules.
Mark Agnor and his family were pleasantly surprised to be able to take their masks off while traveling to Orlando. Agnor said they had masks in their pockets heading to the airport, but put them in their bags when they learned the mask mandate had been lifted.
“We feel like the world is back, freedom is back, we were really excited about that,” Agnor said. “A lot of the people working in the airlines and the hotels we were in, the buses, they were just making jokes because everyone was so excited to just get back to normal.”
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