WASHINGTON, April 20 (Reuters) – Airlines and airports, the ride-sharing company Uber and national train service Amtrak, are now lifting mask mandates that have been in place for more than a year.
The shift comes after a judge in Florida ruled against a federal mandate and the Biden administration said it would not enforce one even as COVID-19 infections are rising in the United States, and more than 400 people are dying per day from the airborne disease. But the White House is still urging Americans to wear masks, however, and they are still required in some areas:
HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES, CLINICS
Some hospital chains, like UnityPoint Health in Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, have dropped mask requirements for patients, visitors and fully vaccinated employees since the Florida ruling.
But the majority of medical facilities are still requiring masks indoors.
More than 40 Broadway theaters will still require masks until at least the end of May, according to a website representing the theaters.
NEW YORK, BOSTON, SAN FRANCISCO
Some U.S. cities, including Washington D.C., quickly suspended mask requirements on public transportation and in other public spaces, but others kept them in place.
Passengers in New York City must wear masks in indoor train stations, and on board subways, commuter rail, buses, and paratransit vehicles, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, North America’s largest transportation network, says. The same goes for passengers on Boston’s public buses and commuter rail network and San Francisco’s BART transit network.
New York airports JFK International and LaGuardia kept mask requirements in place, but they were dropped at nearby Newark, New Jersey.
Small business owners can ask patrons to wear masks, and refuse entry to people who do not.
A handful of major colleges and universities recently reinstated mask requirements, after COVID-19 cases rose. Georgetown University reinstated its indoor mask mandate on April 7, citing a “significant increase” in COVID-19 cases thanks to the highly contagious BA.2 variant.
Johns Hopkins has also recently reinstated mask mandates in common areas and dining halls, after an outbreak of COVID infections after Spring Break.
JAILS AND PRISONS
Visitors to many jails and prisons are still required to wear masks, according to information on their websites, including in Los Angeles County, home to the world’s largest jail and in Washington State.
AT THE U.S.-CANADA BORDER
U.S. residents traveling to Canada are still required to wear masks once they cross the border, and for 14 days afterward.
(Reporting by Heather Timmons in Washington, DC, Jonathan Allen in New York and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; editing by Bernard Orr)