A decision by a federal judge in Florida to throw out a national mask mandate for public transportation across the U.S. created a confusing patchwork of rules for passengers as they navigate airports and transit systems.
The ruling gives airports, mass transit systems, airlines and ride-hailing services the option to keep mask rules or ditch them entirely, resulting in rules that vary by city and mode of transportation.
Passengers on an United Airlines flight from Houston to Kennedy Airport, for instance, could ditch their masks at their departing airport and on the plane, but have to put them back on once they land in New York or take a subway.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had recently extended the mandate until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus now responsible for the vast majority of U.S. cases. But the court decision put the mandate on hold.