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Mask Mandate Extended In LA’s Airports And On Public Transportation

An orange Los Angeles Metro bus, seen from the front,  drives along a street.
Riders on local public transportation will have to keep wearing masks because of rising Covid cases.
(Courtesy LA Metro)
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Los Angeles County health officials on Friday extended the transportation mask mandate. That means anyone over the age of 2 on public buses and trains, and travelers inside all airports in L.A. County are required to wear a face mask — even if they are vaccinated.

“It would really be, at this point, foolhardy to not extend those protections,” said County Health Director Barbara Ferrer at a Thursday press conference.

The health order has been in place since April 22, after a federal judge in Florida eliminated the mask mandate on public transportation and airplanes nationwide. (The U.S. Justice Department has appealed the ruling.)

In response, L.A. County health officials issued their own health order stipulating that everyone aged 2 and older must wear face masks in “transportation corridors,” regardless of vaccination status.

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The order is hampered by jurisdiction — air travelers are required to wear a mask inside local airports, but depending on the airline, not once they board the plane.

The April health order was scheduled to end after 30 days, but L.A. County’s COVID-19 cases have nearly tripled since it was put into effect and they continue to rise, with more than 22,600 reported cases in the past week. On Thursday, the CDC upped the county’s COVID-19 risk level from low to medium.

Where Are Masks Required?

  • On public transit within Los Angeles County, including commuter trains, buses, subways, taxis and ride shares. 
  • Indoor transportation hubs, including airport and bus terminals, subway stations, seaports and other indoor port terminals, and any other indoor area that is a transportation hub

The transportation mask mandate will be in place for 30 days or until L.A. County's COVID transmission rate decreases to moderate, whichever comes first.
A separate health order requires masks to be worn in high-risk places such as emergency shelters, doctor’s offices and hospitals, homeless shelters and prisons, and long-term care facilities such as nursing homes.

What questions do you have about the pandemic and health care?
Jackie Fortiér helps Southern Californians understand the pandemic by identifying what's working and what's not in our health response.