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Portland, Bangor bus services still requiring face masks on Tuesday, after federal mandate ends

Zachary Morin.jpg
Charlie Eichacker
Maine Public
Zachary Morin rides a Western Maine Transportation commuter bus Dec. 8, 2021 from Rumford to Livermore, where he was planning to get on a connecting bus to Lewiston.

A few Maine transit services are still requiring that their passengers and drivers wear face masks on Tuesday, after a federal judge struck down a national mask mandate for planes, trains and buses on Monday.

The Greater Portland METRO and the Community Connector bus service in Bangor both say that they’re still requiring face coverings as they evaluate the shift, although that could change.

The U.S. CDC had recently extended the federal mask mandate for public transportation until May 3, as part of an effort to limit transmission of COVID-19.

But a Florida judge struck the requirement down on Monday, ruling that the health agency had overstepped its authority. That has left the decision of whether to require masks to individual airlines, train and bus services, and facilities.

Now, Amtrak, Concord Coach Lines and some other local Maine bus services — including in the Lewiston, Augusta and Waterville areas — have stopped requiring masks.

The Greyhound bus service has also ended its mandate except when required under local rules, or for trips between the U.S. and Canada or Mexico

Maine's two biggest airports in Portland and Bangor, along with many commercial airlines, have also ended their mandates.

A spokesperson for the Maine CDC says the agency is not planning to impose a statewide mask mandate for transportation services.