Austin airport, CapMetro no longer requiring face masks after ruling

Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) and CapMetro will no longer require masks inside the airport or on trains and buses following a new federal judge ruling vacating the mask mandate. 

On Monday afternoon, a federal judge in Florida voided the national mask mandate put in place for public transportation including airports, buses and trains as a form of protection against COVID-19. 

"I'm just wondering what kind of incentive is behind it to remove the mandate. It seems like the kind of easiest way to curb the spread of COVID," said Harriet Cann, traveling to London from Austin.

The decision comes just a few days after the CDC chose to extend the mask mandate until May 3. The federal judge claims the federal mask mandate was exceeding the authority of US health officials. This court ruling now vacates the mandate.

Many people working to catch their afternoon flights out of AUS had no idea the mask mandate was voided and were surprised to hear about it.

"I believe in being generous and considerate to other people, and if it's just a minor inconvenience to me that might save someone else's life, why wouldn't I do it?," said Lily Husband, traveling to London from Austin.

However, not everyone is against the federal ruling.

"I think it's great because, you know, a piece of toilet paper on your face isn't going to stop you from getting the virus anyway," said Ariston Claussen, traveling to Oregon from Austin.

AUS released a tweet saying, "Following today’s federal court ruling & the decision by TSA to rescind the mask Security Directives, masks are no longer mandatory at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport."

CapMetro will also follow suit. A spokesperson for Austin’s source for public transportation sent this statement to FOX 7 Austin: "Effective immediately, customers are no longer required to wear masks while using CapMetro services. This is following the announcement from the TSA. The CDC is still encouraging customers to mask up to protect themselves while using public transportation."

The US Department of Justice has the power to appeal the ruling, but has not made an announcement yet.

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