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3 U.S. cities that still require masks for travel

While most rules have been dropped, you may need a mask in some places

(iStock/Washington Post illustration)
2 min

This story has been updated.

After a federal judge struck down the mask mandate for planes, buses and other public transportation settings Monday, airlines and transit systems across the country began allowing passengers to remove their face coverings. Ride-hailing companies Uber and Lyft also dropped their mask mandate for riders and drivers. The Justice Department said Wednesday that it will appeal the ruling.

There are a few remaining mask requirements in a number of transit settings related to state or local directives in places such as New York, Massachusetts and Wisconsin.

A couple of other cities briefly held on to local mask rules before reversing course. Philadelphia, for instance, became the first major city in the United States to reinstate an indoor mask rule this month following a rise in coronavirus cases. A citywide indoor masking mandate applied to the airport even after the federal rule was thrown out, but Philadelphia’s Board of Health voted to rescind that rule Thursday. Some transit systems in San Francisco also briefly said they would require masks before dropping those rules, citing federal and state policy.

Here are three places in the United States where masks still are required when traveling.

You don’t have to wear a mask on planes. Do it anyway, experts say.

New York City

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Tuesday that “per current New York public health guidance,” the mask requirement would stay in place for LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, as well as the Port Authority Bus Terminal, PATH system and other locations.

Masks are also required on the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s subways, buses and commuter rail in accordance with a determination by the state health department, Gov. Kathy Hochul tweeted Tuesday.

NJ Transit, which runs in and out of New York City, is no longer requiring masks for riders.


The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Massachusetts Port Authority said in a joint announcement Tuesday that masks would no longer be required for MBTA or airport travelers.

Masks will still be required, however, on the RIDE paratransit service, and some Regional Transit Authorities still have face-covering rules in place, per the announcement. Passengers are encouraged to check individual RTA rules.

When and where you still need a mask: A guide on how to decide


Masks are no longer required at Mitchell International Airport, but the Milwaukee County Transit System said Tuesday that masks are still required on county buses.

“The decision comes out of an abundance of caution as COVID-19 cases have increased locally over the past three weeks,” MCTS said in an update on its website. “We will continue to monitor the data and follow the scientific guidance to determine when the mask mandate for MCTS buses will be lifted in the future.”

Coronavirus: What you need to know

Where do things stand? See the latest covid numbers in the U.S. and across the world. In the U.S., pandemic trends have shifted and now White people are more likely to die from covid than Black people.

The state of public health: Conservative and libertarian forces have defanged much of the nation’s public health system through legislation and litigation as the world staggers into the fourth year of covid.

Grief and the pandemic: A Washington Post reporter covered the coronavirus — and then endured the death of her mother from covid-19. She offers a window into grief and resilience.

Would we shut down again? What will the United States do the next time a deadly virus comes knocking on the door?

Vaccines: The CDC recommends that everyone age 5 and older get an updated covid booster shot. New federal data shows adults who received the updated shots cut their risk of being hospitalized with covid-19 by 50 percent. Here’s guidance on when you should get the omicron booster and how vaccine efficacy could be affected by your prior infections.

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