Ridesharing companies Uber and Lyft ended their mask mandates for riders and drivers on Tuesday.
The move follows U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s ruling on Monday that the federal travel mask mandate was unlawful because it “exceeded the CDC’s statutory authority, improperly invoked the good cause exception to notice and comment rulemaking, and failed to adequately explain its decisions.”
“As of April 19, 2022, riders and drivers are not required to wear masks when using Uber,” the firm said on its website. “However, the CDC still recommends wearing a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in your area.”
“Remember: many people still feel safer wearing a mask because of personal or family health situations, so please be respectful of their preferences,” Uber’s website continued. “And if you ever feel uncomfortable, you can always cancel the trip.”
Uber also announced that its previous “no-front-seat” policy has been removed.
Lyft released a similar statement, adding that “everyone has different comfort levels, and anyone who wants to continue wearing a mask is encouraged to do so.”
A Monday statement from the Biden administration announced that officials will be considering “potential next steps,” while admitting that the CDC’s masking order is no longer in effect.
“The agencies are reviewing the decision and assessing potential next steps,” an administration official said. “In the meantime, today’s court decision means CDC’s public transportation masking order is not in effect at this time. Therefore, TSA will not enforce its Security Directives and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs at this time. CDC recommends that people continue to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings.”
When pressed on the administration’s approach to masking policies by Fox News reporter Peter Doocy on Monday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki snapped that she is “not a doctor.”
“You said about this mask ruling out of a federal court in Florida that it’s a ‘disappointing decision,’ and you say you continue to recommend that people wear masks,” Doocy said. “Why is it that we can sit here in the White House briefing room with no masks, but people can’t sit in an airplane cabin with no masks?”
“Well, Peter, I’m not a doctor,” Psaki replied. “You’re not a doctor — that I’m aware of. If you’re a doctor, I wasn’t aware of that today — until today.”
“Can confirm,” Doocy replied.
“Okay, not a doctor,” Psaki said. “Just making sure. I don’t know.”
“Some people can still wear a mask if they want to — many people do — or wear them in meetings or wear them at certain times where you’re going to be around or sitting close to people, or maybe you have an immunocompromised parent or — or friend,” Psaki added. “And so people make that decision. And there’s — this is based on health considerations and data that the CDC looks at about transmissibility as — as we’ve seen an increase in cases on — on airplanes.”