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Some SEPTA Riders Still Learning Of Mask Mandate Being Dropped On Public Transportation

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- It's been two days since SEPTA dropped its mask mandate and word is just getting around to some riders. CBS3 spoke to some riders who had no idea they were no longer required to wear face coverings on public transportation.

"I ask because I'm not sure," Los Angeles resident Andrew Yang said.

It can get confusing here in Philadelphia. Word came down that passengers were no longer required to wear face coverings on public transportation the same day Philadelphia reinstated its indoor mask mandate, leaving a lot of folks uncertain as to what to do.

"We've been through so much. It's hard to decide if you wanna do it, if not," Point Breeze resident Brad Howell said.

The Justice Department says it may appeal the federal judge's ruling if the CDC extends its May 3 expiration date on masking. Enforcing masking was already a contentious issue on SEPTA, so for now, people can hop on and off as they please.

"A lot of times when I'm rushing in the morning I forget my mask, so now it's a big breather I don't have to worry I forgot my mask to get on the bus," Mingtoy Devero, of South Philly, said.

SEPTA officials took about five hours after the federal judge's decision on Monday to alert its front-line workers that they were no longer required to wear face coverings.

About an hour later, they released the same information to the public. During that time, officials checked other agencies and thought it was best to go the same route.

SEPTA spokesperson Andrew Busch tells CBS3 the transit agency's priority is to remain consistent with federal mandates.

"We were very deliberate about it," Busch said. "That time was needed to contact a number of our stakeholders. So SEPTA's executive team was in touch with our board including the two city reps, and the health department because there's the city indoor mask mandate that's in place so we spent the day consulting with them."

While the mandate has been dropped, operators have the option to continue wearing face coverings if they choose.

"When I'm around a lot of people I get shaky and I gotta move because I had the virus," Tomorrow Peterson, of West Philly, said. "Now that I don't have the virus I'm really scared. When I'm not around a lot of people I don't wear the mask."

Click here to find out where face coverings are still required in Philadelphia. 

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