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Transportation and Mobility

Masks Required Again On LA Public Transportation And Inside Local Airports

A blue-tinted Metro train arrives to a transit platform near downtown Los Angeles as an out-of-focus man in a blue shirt walks away from the train.
Passengers on public transit in L.A. County will once again be required to wear masks.
(Courtesy L.A. Metro)
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Beginning April 22, everyone on L.A. County's public buses and trains, and travelers inside LAX and Hollywood Burbank airports will again be required to wear a face mask.

The move comes two days after public transit operator L.A. Metro dropped the face mask requirement, following a Florida federal court decision on April 18 that eliminated the mask mandate on public transportation and airplanes nationwide. (The U.S. Justice Department has appealed the ruling.) But local jurisdictions have authority to set their own guidelines.

The new L.A. County health officer order stipulates that everyone aged 2 and older must wear face masks in “transportation corridors,” regardless of vaccination status. The order is hampered by jurisdiction — air travelers will be required to wear a mask inside local airports, but depending on the airline, not once they board the plane.

Where Are Masks Required?

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

“While it would be much preferable to have … a requirement that covers the entire country, until the legal challenges are addressed, it's important that local jurisdictions take direction from the CDC on what measures are needed to protect the public health,” said L.A. County Health Director Barbara Ferrer on Thursday at her weekly briefing. 

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She said the new mask mandate will be reassessed when L.A. County’s community coronavirus transmission drops to moderate or when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determines required indoor masking in transportation is no longer needed, or within 30 days of the health order being issued, whichever comes first. 

Coronavirus cases are rising again in L.A. County after a steep fall from their February peak. The average number of daily new cases reported over the past seven days increased to 1,261 new cases. The latest report has new daily cases topping 2,000 for the first time since Feb. 27.

Graphic shows rising trend lines for COVID cases in L.A. County, while admissions and deaths remain low.
(Courtesy L.A. County)

“The seven day average number of daily cases is now over twice what the average was on March 24,” Ferrer said. 

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Uber and Lyft announced Wednesday that they were dropping mask requirements in the U.S., but local health regulations supersede company rules.

L.A. County joins New York, where masks are still required on the subway. Both mega cities are experiencing an increase in known cases and higher transmission rates.

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.