COVID mask mandate: Uber, Amtrak, airlines dropping requirements for customers and employees

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Companies have lifted COVID-19-related restrictions following a federal judge's decision to strike down the national mask mandate. 

Airlines and airports eagerly dropped the mask restrictions on Monday after the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it wouldn't enforce the January 2021 order that applied to airplanes, airports, taxis and other mass transit.

TRAVELERS REACT TO END OF THE AIRLINE MASK MANDATE WITH JOY, APPLAUSE

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire Monday, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus – which is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

The court ruling puts that decision on hold.

Here are some of the companies that have removed regulations:

Uber

Uber announced Tuesday that it will no longer require both riders and drivers to wear masks, effective immediately.

"As of April 19, 2022, riders and drivers are not required to wear masks when using Uber," the ride-share company said on its website. "However, the CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in your area."

Uber has required all riders and drivers that use its platform to wear masks since May 18, 2020.

Lyft has not issued a statement on the ruling.

Travelers line up wearing protective masks indoors at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, Dec. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh, File / AP Newsroom)

Amtrak

The Amtrak rail system announced Tuesday that passengers and employees would no longer need to wear masks.

"While Amtrak passengers and employees are no longer required to wear masks while on board trains or in stations, masks are welcome and remain an important preventive measure against COVID-19," it said. "Anyone needing or choosing to wear one is encouraged to do so."

American Airlines

American said it will no longer require employees or customers to wear face masks on domestic flights or at U.S. terminals. Masks may be required based on local ordinances, or when traveling to/from different international locations.

"In keeping with our commitment to creating a welcoming environment for everyone who travels with us, customers and team members may choose to continue to wear masks at their own discretion," the airline said in a statement.

United Airlines

United Airlines is one of the multiple carriers that announced they were yanking the requirement for domestic and some international flights. 

"Masks are no longer required on domestic flights, select international flights (dependent upon the arrival country's requirements) or at U.S. airports," the airline tweeted Tuesday. "More comfortable keeping yours on? Go right ahead… the choice is yours (you look dino-mite either way)!"

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Delta Air Lines

In a Monday news release, Delta Air Lines said masks were now optional for employees and customers, noting that local mask mandates in other countries may still be in effect.

"We are relieved to see the U.S. mask mandate lift to facilitate global travel as COVID-19 has transitioned to an ordinary seasonal virus. Thank you for your support in complying with the federal mask mandate and keeping each other and our customers, safe during the pandemic," it said.

Southwest Airlines

The Dallas-based carrier said Monday that employees and customers can choose whether to wear a mask on flights, domestic airports and some international destinations.

"We encourage individuals to make the best decision to support their personal wellbeing," the airline said in a statement.

Alaska Airlines

In a news release update, Alaska Airlines said that masks were optional in airports and onboard aircraft – though guests must continue to wear face coverings on flights both to and from Canada. 

The company pledged that safety remains its top priority even as more pandemic protocols and policies ease, and promised to remain vigilant.

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"Throughout the last two years, we have relied on reporting from agents and flight attendants to ban noncompliant guests from traveling while the federal mask policy remained in effect. Based on our reports, we will have some guests whose behavior was particularly egregious who will remain banned, even after the mask policy is rescinded," Alaska Airlines noted.

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JetBlue Airways

JetBlue Airways announced Monday that masks will be optional on its planes, though the airline noted customers and crew members traveling internationally "should always have a mask with them in case they continue to be required at their destination."

"We are working to proactively share this update with our customers and crewmembers, so please be patient as we update our communications," a travel alert from the airline read.

Fox Business' Lorraine Taylor and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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