Watch CBS News

Confusion At Philadelphia International Airport As National Mask Mandate Thrown Out By Federal Judge In Florida

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The federal mask mandate on planes and public transportation is struck down, but it's leaving a lot of confusion in Philadelphia as the city's mask mandate was reinstated on Monday. If you thought the decision by a federal judge in Florida to throw out the national mask mandate on public transportation meant you could ditch the mask at Philadelphia International Airport, think again.

Masks are still required to be worn inside the airport and while waiting at your terminal, but once you're on board your plane you will probably be able to take them off if you want.

Despite the countless signs and announcements around PHL Airport Tuesday morning, there were more maskless faces than at any other point since the start of the pandemic.

"If somebody doesn't want to wear a mask, it's not going to bother me at all," John Allwein said. "I think there's some fatigue. I think there's some debate about whether or not the masks, especially those little cloth masks, don't do anything."

Passengers onboard a flight were told they were no longer required to wear masks. Video shows them celebrating as they throw them away.

It's causing confusion because since Philadelphia has reinstated its mask mandate, so masks must be worn inside PHL International Aiport and at terminals.

This comes hours after a federal judge struck down the nationwide mask mandate for travelers and most of the country's largest airlines stopped enforcing it -- including Southwest, American, United, Jetblue, Spirit, and Frontier Airlines.

"One thing you worry about is, is there a good filtration system on the plane? And the second thing is nobody wants to get sick, but you gotta protect yourself the most since we're still in the middle of this pandemic," Jennifer Allwein said.

Other public transportation companies are also ditching the requirement. Employees and riders on Amtrak are no longer required to wear a mask. Although Amtrak says masks are an effective way to prevent contracting COVID-19 and they encourage riders to continue wearing one if they want to.

On SEPTA, masks are now encouraged but not required at all SEPTA stations, concourses, and onboard trains and buses. This applies to riders and employees.

Uber is also no longer requiring riders or drivers to wear face coverings.

Travelers are torn on the significant and sudden policy change.

"It doesn't seem to make any sense, you have one policy and a different policy and they keep going back and forth," Steve Rini said.

"I think it's going to change sometimes we have to wear them, sometimes we don't. I think we're so spoiled, you have people fighting in Ukraine and you can't put a mask on? I'll do what is common sense," a woman said.

Some other transportation companies, like New Jersey Transit, are still requiring all riders to wear a mask on board public transit vehicles.

"I'm going to protect myself and it's up to people to do whatever it is that they feel is right," Fiona Haynes said.

So if you're traveling, it's a good idea to keep a mask handy just in case.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.