Springfield bus passengers discuss Monday’s federal mask mandate decision

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 9:48 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - A federal judge in Florida struck down the national public transportation mask mandate on Monday.

The mask mandate applied to travel by airplane, train, city bus, or any other form of public transportation. The CDC extended the mask mandate until May 3 just last week. Only a few days later, a federal judge voided the requirement citing it as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials during the coronavirus pandemic.

The decision is so new that many Springfield bus passengers said they had not heard about the ruling. All passengers continued to wear masks on Monday afternoon. City Utilities bus passengers have been wearing masks on board for more than a year now.

“I don’t think I really get used to it,” passenger David Jones said. “It’s kind of just an inconvenience.”

While some passengers said they simply “tolerate” the requirement, others have come to accept it.

”See I don’t mind it, because it adds a layer of protection,” passenger Dalton Robertson said.

”I actually really, really like the rule,” passenger Hayden Hayman said. “It just makes me feel a lot safer. I already have bad anxiety.”

Some riders said they have been frustrated that masks were still required on public transportation, despite no longer being required in restaurants or in the city.

“I think it’s ridiculous,” Jones said. “But that’s just my opinion. I’m not against people wearing them.”

Passengers like David Jones said they are pleased with Monday’s decision.

”I think that will make a lot of people happy,” he said. “It will probably upset some people too, but that’s okay.”

The White House said the order is no longer in effect and will not be enforced following Monday’s ruling. Right now federal agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps, however.

Some Springfield passengers said they may still continue to use face coverings.

”I mean it’s whatever people want,” Hayman said. “But I will still be wearing my mask until it’s completely over.”

A few riders said their decision could vary from time to time.

”It depends how the counts are for the COVID cases and how bad it is at the moment,” Robertson described. “I’ll probably take it off, but if somebody is coughing next to me I’ll put one on.”

It’s unclear if the Justice Department will seek an order halting the ruling, and file an appeal. In the meantime, riders said they will respect each passenger’s decision.

”In the end, it’s everybody else’s choice,” Hayman said.

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