"I thought that was over" and "I don’t have one" were the most common phrases we heard at train stations along the Metrolink lines outside Los Angeles County. Earlier this week, riders heard they no longer had to wear masks after a federal judge struck down the Biden Administration's mask mandate on planes and other forms of public transportation stating that the mandate exceeded the authority of U.S. health officials.
However, Los Angeles County health officials are, again, mandating masks on public transit, citing a rise in COVID-19 infection rates. As a result, Metrolink officials are asking riders on its system, even in lines and stations not in LA County, to wear masks.
"We are not kicking people out if they are not wearing them," said Scott Johnson, director of Communications at Metrolink.
Johnson forwarded FOX 11 the following statement, explaining Metrolink's position:
"Following the County of Los Angeles Department of Public Health issuing a Health Officer Order that masking in all public transit within LA County and in LA County indoor transportation hubs continues to be required, Metrolink is asking all passengers aboard Metrolink trains systemwide to once again wear a mask aboard all Metrolink trains.
Just as we did Monday when Metrolink followed a federal directive to lift the mask mandate, we will continue to monitor the situation and adjust as needed with passenger safety as the focus."
The back and forth is making it difficult for many riders we spoke to. Even those who prefer to wear masks, and had them, admit it can be confusing. One rider explained he and his wife just got off a plane, where they were glad to not have to wear a mask, and find that having to wear it on a much emptier train seems unnecessary. Still, many we talked to say they will comply, and plan on carrying masks on their person, regardless. Others say they will refuse, and stop catering to businesses that insist on it, be it a restaurant, and yes, even the train.
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