LA Metro drops mask mandate for riders; face coverings now only 'strongly recommended'

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- After a federal judge struck down the Biden administration's nationwide travel mask mandate, the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced it's lifting its mask requirement on all of its bus and rail lines.

Face coverings are now only strongly recommended, but not required.

"After a devastating winter surge that threatened the integrity of our healthcare system, the County is now enjoying low community levels of COVID-19," said chair of the Metro board Hilda Solis in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "With more tools at our disposal to combat this virus, including wider availability of vaccines, tests, and therapeutics, the County can continue to progress towards its new normal. However, it is important to recognize that we still live in a pandemic, thus face masks will continue to be strongly recommended on public transit to keep ourselves and those around us safe. I urge our residents to continue to remain vigilant and look out for one another as we move forward."

Uber joined the list of airlines and public transportation agencies that are also no longer requiring its riders and drivers to mask up. The company's mask requirement was lifted Tuesday, but Uber said riders and drivers still have the option to wear a mask.

"Remember: many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences. And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip," the company said in its updated guidelines.

Uber also updated its no-front-seat policy, which had required riders to sit in the back seat during rides. Riders are now asked to only use the front seat if the size of their group requires it.

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Amtrak also loosened restrictions and says passengers and employees do not have to wear masks while on trains or in stations.

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