The Birmingham Times
Masks on all Birmingham-Jefferson County Transit Authority/MAX modes of transportation are now optional effective immediately, the agency announced on Tuesday.
The officials made the announcement after a federal judge’s ruling that struck down the travel mask mandate issued by the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC) was deemed unconstitutional.
MAX modes of public transportation include fixed route, paratransit, MAX Direct, and Magic City Connector buses.
However, BJCTA said it continues to strongly encourage the use of masks for MAX operators, employees, and passengers if they choose to wear one.
“While we are aware of the federal guidance, our primary concern is the safety of customers and operators,” said Executive Director and CEO Charlotte Shaw. “This is a time when we ask individuals to act responsibly based on their situation and health care challenges. While masks will be optional, we will continue to encourage the use of masks as we monitor this situation.
“However, if a higher court voids this recent decision, it will remain in place. We will continue to monitor this ruling for any changes.”
MAX provides transit to Birmingham, Bessemer, Center Point, Homewood, Hoover, Mountain Brook, Vestavia Hills, Tarrant, Midfield, and the City of Fairfield.
A federal judge in Florida struck down a national mask mandate on airplanes and mass transit Monday, and freed airlines, airports and mass transit systems to make their own decisions about mask requirements.
Meanwhile, the Birmingham Airport Authority released a statement through the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) which said in part, “Due to [the federal] court ruling, effective immediately, TSA will no longer enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs. TSA will also rescind the new Security Directives that were scheduled to take effect [April 20]. CDC continues to recommend that people wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time.”
The statement added that the BAA complies with all federal, state and local laws and regulations including those related to the mask mandate. “With the removal of this federal requirement, there are currently no regulations requiring masks at the Birmingham‐Shuttlesworth International Airport. While passengers, employees and visitors are not required to wear a mask while at the
airport, passengers are encouraged to check with their airline to determine whether a mask will be required while on the plane.”