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BART Officials Consider Reinstating COVID Mask Mandate For Riders

DUBLIN (CBS SF) -- BART riders could soon be required to mask up again while using the transit system.

Three BART board members -- Board President Rebecca Saltzman, Bevan Dufty and Janice Li -- are preparing to propose reinstating the mandate at a meeting on April 28.

"We really felt like we needed to move forward with our own to protect our riders, and particularly the most vulnerable communities," Saltzman said. "I would much prefer for the federal or state or the county health officers to come together and mandate this, but short of that, we have a responsibility to BART riders."

To support her decision, Saltzman cited the rising COVID cases in the Bay Area and the fact that children under age 5 still are not yet eligible for vaccination.

Masks became optional on BART trains and inside the transit system's stations on Wednesday after the state's Department of Public Health dropped its public transit mask requirement.

BART was not alone. San Francisco Muni, Caltrain, Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority and AC Transit all have dropped their mask mandates.

Meanwhile, the CDC has asked the Justice Department to appeal the ruling that ended the travel mask mandate and in a statement said "at this time, an order requiring masking in the indoor transportation corridor remains necessary for public health."

BART riders had mixed reactions to a possible return to masks.

"I would be happy to follow along personally, but I recognize it's not for everybody," said BART rider Alec Kreibel.

BART rider Mary Cauwels felt masks should return.

"I think it protects all riders on BART, especially those that are vulnerable," she said.

The mask mandate that is going to be proposed would be temporary and could be lifted as soon as case counts go down.

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