EVERETT — Passengers can board localbuses, planes at Paine Field and ferries without a mask after a federal judge in Florida ended the national requirement for aircraft and public transit Monday.
Or they can keep them on, if they want, as case counts rose for the third consecutive week in Snohomish County.
U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, Florida halted the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirement, CBS News reported. The mandate exceeded the agency’s authority, Mizelle wrote in the ruling.
In a joint statement, transit agencies throughout Puget Sound — including Community Transit, Everett Transit and Sound Transit — announced they would no longer require masks on buses and trains and at stations and stops.
Spokesperson Martin Munguia said Community Transit stopped its mandate after the Transportation Security Administration rescinded the two-week extension of the national mask policy, effectively ending it at midnight.
But Community Transit notes the CDC’s recommendation for people with weakened immune systems, or at higher risk of severe disease, to keep wearing them in “crowded indoor settings.”
Washington State Ferries also won’t require masks on ships or terminals.
Travelers going through Paine Field also have a choice to wear a mask in the terminal in Everett.
Alaska Airlines, the major carrier at Paine Field, won’t require them aboard their planes flying within the country or to Belize, Costa Rica or Mexico. But passengers must wear them if flying to or from Canada.
This is a developing story. Check back later for updates.