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DIA, RTD drop face mask rules

Some airlines and destinations may still require masks.

DENVER — The Regional Transportation District (RTD) announced Tuesday afternoon that it will no longer require masks on vehicles or properties, effective immediately.

Signage aboard RTD vehicles and displayed at facilities that reflect face covering requirements will be removed as soon as practicable, the district said in a release.

RTD still encourages individuals to wear masks for the health and safety of themselves and others as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests.

“As conditions around the COVID-19 pandemic continue to evolve, assessing current health conditions remains critical,” said RTD General Manager and CEO Debra A. Johnson. “My team has kept in mind the well-being of employees and customers at every turn during this global health emergency. The decision made today reflects RTD’s commitment to the communities served, and health considerations will continue to guide the actions the agency takes.”

Denver International Airport (DIA) said Monday evening that it is following the Transportation Security Administration's direction and no longer requiring masks in the airport.

Earlier Monday, a federal judge in Florida voided the national mandate covering airplanes and other public transportation as exceeding the authority of U.S. health officials in the coronavirus pandemic.

The airport and the Regional Transportation District (RTD) both said earlier Monday that they would continue to enforce the mandate until further guidance was issued by the federal government.

Later Monday, the White House said the court ruling means that for now the mask order “is not in effect at this time.”

RELATED: Federal judge strikes down mask mandate for planes, public transportation

"We have been informed by the TSA that they will no longer be enforcing the national mask mandate at airports," DIA said in a tweet. "As a result, masks are no longer required at [DIA] and we will be removing mask signage (which might take a bit of time)."

"Mask requirements could vary by airline or destination, so we still encourage passengers to carry a mask when traveling," the airport said. 

RELATED: Airlines respond to new ruling dropping mask requirement for transport

The ruling

The decision Monday by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, also said the CDC improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rulemaking.

In her 59-page ruling, Mizelle said the only remedy was to vacate the rule entirely because it would be impossible to end it for the limited group of people who objected to it in the lawsuit.

The CDC recently extended the mask mandate, which was set to expire Monday, until May 3 to allow more time to study the BA.2 omicron subvariant of the coronavirus that is now responsible for the vast majority of cases in the U.S.

The Justice Department declined to comment Monday when asked if the government planned to appeal the ruling.

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