Mask policies lifted for Lexington KY airport, Lextran buses

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Blue Grass Airport and Lextran are lifting their mask mandates after a federal judge in Florida Monday ruled against a directive from President Joe Biden’s administration requiring them on public transportation.

Here’s what to know about the mandate lifting and what that means for transportation in and around Lexington.

Masking now optional, though recommended on Lextran buses

In a statement sent to the Herald-Leader Tuesday, Lextran General Manager Jill Barnett said masks are now optional on the system’s buses, though still recommended, citing public health guidance.

“Effective immediately, masks are optional for passengers and employees onboard Lextran vehicles. The use of masks onboard public transit is still recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Lextran’s policy may be modified in accordance with federal orders or requirements,” Barnett said.

Additionally, Barnett said the change may take some time and asked for patience from riders.

“We ask riders for patience as it may take a bit of time to update signage and messaging onboard vehicles and at facilities.”

Judge rules CDC overstepped in issuing national mandate

The change comes after a decision by the U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle of Tampa, who was appointed by former President Donald Trump, according to the Associated Press.

Mizelle said the CDC, ultimately overstepped its authority – even if the agency’s goals in fighting the virus are laudable, the AP reported.

The decision allows airlines, airports and mass transit systems to make their own decisions about masking, which resulted in mixed responses Monday. Major airlines switched to a mask optional policy, with some eliciting cheers from passengers when the changes were announced over loudspeakers, the AP reported.

How does this affect travel at the Blue Grass Airport?

Blue Grass Airport community relations manager Lauren White issued the following statement in response to a Lexington Herald-Leader request.

“Following (Transportation Security Administration)‘s decision yesterday to no longer enforce mask-related security directives, mask requirements are no longer enforced at Blue Grass Airport. Passengers can now choose if they would like to wear a mask while in Blue Grass Airport. For information that relates specifically to an air service provider’s policy, we recommend that passengers reach out to them directly,” White wrote in an emailed response Tuesday.

The four major airlines listed on the Blue Grass Airport’s website – Allegiant, American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines – have all done away with their mask mandates.

Allegiant and United Airlines told wire service Reuters they would no longer require masks at U.S. airports and on domestic flights, although they may still be required while flying internationally.

American Airlines and Delta made similar announcements through a news release and website post, respectively.

Do you have a question about the coronavirus in Kentucky? We’d like to hear from you. Fill out the form below or email ask@herald-leader.com.

Aaron Mudd is a service journalism reporter with the Lexington Herald-Leader. He previously worked for the Bowling Green Daily News covering K-12 and higher education. Aaron has roots in Fayette, Marion and Warren Counties.





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