While a federal judge voided the national mask mandate for airplanes and other public transportation, the Port Authority says mask mandates will stay in effect at JFK International and LaGuardia Airport.
Newark Liberty International Airport has dropped its mask requirements.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, the agency said: “The Port Authority will continue to follow the guidance of the New York and New Jersey public health authorities with respect to mask mandates at its public transportation facilities.”
The policy clarification caused a confusing morning at airport terminals, where travelers were sometimes told that masks were required and at other times were allowed to wander the buildings maskless.
Fox 5 New York reported:
Because of New York public health guidance, the mask mandate remains in effect for the following New York facilities:
-Port Authority Midtown Bus Terminal
-George Washington Bridge Bus Station
-World Trade Center Oculus Transportation Hub
-JFK International Airport
-New York Stewart International Airport
The mask mandate has been lifted for the following New Jersey facilities, but masks are now optional and welcome for all who choose to wear them:
-Newark Liberty International Airport
The mask mandate remains in effect for the PATH System (including stations and platforms except for open-air platforms).
The MTA, which runs the New York City subway system, announced on Monday that mask rules would remain in effect.
NJ Transit dropped mask requirements on Tuesday morning.
The MTA and Port Authority — which together govern the subway, buses, Metro North, LIRR, PATH and regional airports — are keeping their masking requirements, despite a Florida judge tossing out the national mask mandate for mass transit.https://t.co/JcFFtopdwt
— Gothamist (@Gothamist) April 19, 2022
— Gwynne Hogan (@GwynneFitz) April 19, 2022
The morning confusion follows a ruling from a federal district court judge in Florida, overturning the Biden administration’s mask mandate for public transportation recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The national Transportation Security Administration announced it would no longer be enforcing the mandate in public transit hubs on Monday night.
But the orders from New York State’s health department mean masks are still required on transit facilities governed by the state. The conflict comes in spaces like Penn Station which is a hub for trains governed by New York, New Jersey and the federal government.
As commuters filtered through Penn Station Tuesday morning, most were still wearing masks and many said they had no idea the rules had changed, yet again. Some said they were excited about the end of the mask mandate, like commuter Ray Jackson who was waiting for an NJ Transit train.
“I guess it’s a sign of progress, a step in the right direction,” he said. “I’m elated about that.”
The news follows NYC Mayor Eric Adams’ announcement saying he is ‘considering’ reinstituting the Key to NYC and additional mask mandates.
For New York travelers, there’s an easy solution to this fiasco.
Place the mask in your hand, walk to the nearest garbage can, place it inside the bin, and never put another diaper on your face.
You have the right to breathe fresh oxygen.
Now act like it!