Los Angeles County has reinstated its mask mandate on public transport, meaning that people will again be required to wear face coverings at all indoor public transportation hubs, including airports and bus terminals, officials have said.
This includes mask-wearing on buses, trains, taxis, subways, and ride-hailing service vehicles. Masking continues to be also required in indoor transportation hubs including airport and bus terminals, train and subway stations, seaport or other indoor port terminals, or any other indoor area that serves as a transportation hub.
The mandate does not apply to passengers onboard planes, however, they will be required to wear them once they have disembarked from their flight.
Earlier this week, major U.S. airlines and other travel companies dropped mask requirements on planes, trains, and other forms of public transportation after a federal judge struck down the CDC’s mask mandate.
The Justice Department has said it is appealing the ruling.
Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer told reporters during a briefing Thursday that the new order is based on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s assessment that mask-wearing “in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for the public health.”
“That resonates with us,” Ferrer said. “We think and agree that public transit settings … and public transportation hubs that are indoors are places where A) There’s a lot of mingling; B) They’re often crowded; and C) In some of those settings, it’s really hard to have adequate ventilation.”
“As soon as CDC determined that it was important to keep this masking requirement in place, we went ahead and aligned with the CDC,” she added.
The Los Angeles County Public Health said it will reassess the indoor mask-wearing requirement when community transmission of COVID-19 in Los Angeles County reaches a moderate level, or when the CDC decides that mask-wearing on public transport is no longer necessary, or within 30 days of the order being issues, whichever occurs first.
Prior to the new masking order, LA Metro announced this week that masks on all Metro bus and rail lines in LA County would be strongly recommended, but no longer required.
On Thursday, LA Metro said it will comply with the new order starting on Friday.
The latest decision in Los Angeles County comes after a World Health Organization official on April 20 said the health body recommends that people continue to wear face coverings in public, even if there are no mandates in place.
Dr. Ciro Ugarte, director of health emergencies at the WHO’s Pan American Health Organization, said at a briefing with reporters and other WHO officials that masks are “highly effective” at reducing transmission of COVID-19 and wearing them is still recommended.
He added that the WHO advises that “the general public should wear a nonmedical mask indoors, or in outdoor settings where physical distancing of at least one meter cannot be maintained.”