NewsLocal News


Western New Yorkers react to changing mask guidelines on public transportation, airplanes

Posted at 5:39 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 18:53:27-04

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — Late Monday night, the NFTA said they will continue to enforce a mask mandate at the airport, on busses and trains. But on Tuesday morning it lifted that mandate to align with TSA’s decision.

In a statement the NFTA said:

In accordance with the TSA’s recent decision that it will no longer enforce its Security Directive and Emergency Amendment requiring mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs, the NFTA will lift its mask requirements at the Buffalo Niagara International and Niagara Falls International Airports, and on NFTA Metro Bus and Rail. The NFTA will continue to follow the CDC recommendation that encourages people to wear masks in indoor public transportation settings at this time and that everyone should be respectful of those who choose to wear a face covering for their personal safety.

“Cases of COVID are still around, but if people protect themselves wash their hands, use hygiene I don’t think it will be a problem,” transit rider Benny Deas said.

Some NFTA transportation users said they will continue wearing masks for their safety but understand why some do not want to.

“COVID has been around for a while now, people are frustrated, and people have gotten tired of the mask mandate,” Deas said.

Doctor Thomas Russo from the UB Jacobs School of Medicine said the pandemic is entering an era of personal responsibility.

“This is sort of the last bastion of masks,” Doctor Russo said. “But those groups that are high risk need to still be vigilant.”

Doctor Russo said if you are unvaccinated, immunocompromised, or regularly interact with those at high risk, you should still wear a mask in public indoor venues. And he said using public transportation can increase your risk of infection.

“People need to be aware that we have a fairly high burden of community disease right here in Western New York,” Doctor Russo said.

So far, travelers and public transit users said others have been respectful.

“People have been playing it pretty safe, social distancing,” Deas said.

Major airlines like United, American, Southwest and Delta have dropped their face mask requirement, effective immediately. The NFTA still encourages people to wear their masks indoors and on public transportation