Masks are Now Optional at Most Airports, Including SEA but Not NYC.  

Face masks will no longer be required on planes and other forms of public transportation after a federal judge in Florida on Monday ruled against the federal mask mandate and the White House, shortly after, said it would no longer enforce it while it is under review.

A number of travel industry names, including the U.S. Travel Association, and almost all major U.S. airlines such as American, Delta, JetBlue, United, and more, welcomed the news, removing their own face mask mandates that had been installed during the pandemic.

While so many travelers will be greeted by a completely different airport experience this week, some will not because even with the move from the White House, face masks will still be required at some of the most heavily trafficked U.S. airports.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the body that governs all airports, bridges, tunnels, bus terminals, and trains in the New York metro area, said on Tuesday that the mask mandate remains in effect for some New York facilities because of local health guidance.

“The Port Authority will continue to follow the guidance of the New York and New Jersey public health authorities with respect to mask mandates at its public transportation facilities,” the Port Authority said in a statement.

That includes LaGuardia Airport and JFK International Airport, two of the most popular U.S. airport by passenger volume, along with the Port Authority Bus Terminal, New York Stewart International Airport, and the World Trade Center Oculus Transportation Hub.

Newark Liberty International Airport, New Jersey’s largest airport and another major metro-New York hub, along with Teterboro Airport will not require masks after additional New Jersey public health guidance was issued on Tuesday.

The New York Subway system, along with the PATH Train into and out of New Jersey, will also continue to require masks because of the local New York state rules. Uber, on the other hand, will now allow passengers to ride without a mask and use the front seat if they need to.

All that means that, until New York’s rules change, someone taking mass transit to the airport could be going through three different mask rule changes during a trip depending on what airport and what destination they are flying to, before even touching down on their outbound leg. That includes possibly going from wearing a mask inside of the airport if a passenger is flying out of JFK or LaGuardia, to being able to remove a mask once they have boarded their flight. 

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