Metro Transit, Dane Co. airport react to federal mask mandate being lifted

Masks are no longer required at airports, on airplanes and on transit systems around the country.
Published: Apr. 19, 2022 at 6:47 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 19, 2022 at 7:03 PM CDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - Masks are no longer required at airports, on airplanes and on transit systems around the country after a Florida judge struck down the requirements Monday. It’s a big change for the transportation industry, and the Biden administration doesn’t object; neither do the local transit system, airport or travelers.

Mask wearing among travelers at the Dane Co. Regional Airport is about 50/50. Madison resident Lisa Franek was unmasked, waiting for her first flight in two years. Like everyone, she now has a choice as she boards her plane.

“I don’t know what it’s like to not have a mask on,” Franek said. “I think I’m going to make a game time decision.”

Airport spokesperson Michael Riechers sees giving people this choice as a big step in the right direction.

“The Dane Co. Regional Airport has no mask mandate locally and to our knowledge, our carriers don’t either,” he explained.

Riechers also wants travelers to know safety is still at top of mind.

“We learned travel could be a safe thing and we learned how to do it safely,” he said. “We want people to do what they feel comfortable doing.”

In a Facebook post, the airport said it will continue its cleaning and sanitizing practices. Sanitizer stations will be available for all travelers, and masks will be available for pick up at doors 1 and 4.

This comes as a relief for Metro Transit as well. Spokesperson Mick Rusch says text messages were sent out to all bus drivers Monday night explaining masks would no longer be required for drivers or riders; a welcome sign considering the pandemic forced drivers to enforce the federal law.

“Having to work with the public on this mask mandate has not always been easy for them [drivers],” Rusch said. “They were always in the middle of each situation. It just takes a little bit of pressure off our drivers that we don’t have to enforce everything. and it is now a choice.”

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