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Travelers Divided Over Ditching Masks On Public Transit After Federal Mandate Dropped

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- The federal mask mandate is now over, which has many freeing their faces, while others are changing their travel plans to stay safe.

It's now optional to wear a mask on public transportation in the air and on the ground after a federal judge in Florida knocked the mandate down.

At the Metro Transit light rail station at Terminal 1 in Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, it was a mixed bag of passengers wearing masks and not on Tuesday morning.

Timothy Jennings, who is from New Jersey and learned about the mask mandate change when he arrived in Minneapolis, was surprised to see so many uncovered faces.

"I was taken by surprise. I was like, 'Wait a second, did I miss the memo?'" Jennings said. "Thank God. This is awesome, fantastic."

Metro Transit announced that masks are now optional, but still encourage riders to wear them.

Stephanie Zvan said she still will.

"I don't see why it suddenly is supposed to get harder for me to stay healthy," said Zvan.

She was not happy to learn about the mask change while she was already traveling.

"The next trip that I take there's a really good chance I'll be driving because I'll have more control," said Zvan.

MSP Airport announced that masks are now optional when you're inside the airport, and several airlines said they will no long require masks, including Delta, United, American, Southwest and Sun Country.

"It's wonderful, it's way overdue," said Mike Wagner, who had flowers ready to welcome his wife home from a two-week trip.

He said he is thrilled to walk around the airport without his mask on.

"Here I am looking at a family of six walking by with the little kids and nobody is wearing a mask and everybody is smiling. This is wonderful. This is back to where we should be," said Wagner.

Austin Meimaridis flew home with his dad. They were a house divided while on the plane.

"My dad chose to wear his just out of safety, but I chose to fall asleep without mine," said Meimaridis.

Ride-sharing services Uber and Lyft also ended their mask requirements and said passengers can now sit in the front of cars again if drivers are comfortable with it.

MSP Airport says signage requiring masks is in the process of being taken down, but may take a few days, in case there is any confusion.

EMERGENCY COMPONENT - LOCAL

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