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Masks no more: Where in Hampton Roads the travel mask mandate is no longer in effect

Transportation officials in Hampton Roads are changing COVID-19 policies after a federal judge struck down a travel mask mandate nationwide.

NORFOLK, Va. — People no longer have to wear masks in travel settings after a federal judge struck down a national mask mandate Monday.

The decision by U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle in Tampa said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exceeded its authority in the response to COVID-19, the Associated Press reports.

In wake of the ruling, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) said it would no longer enforce mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs, requiring policy changes for the different ways people travel in Hampton Roads.

Here's a look at where the travel mask mandate is no longer in effect.

Airports

Two major airports in Hampton Roads are affected by the TSA's new guidance: Norfolk International Airport and Newport News-Williamsburg Airport.

A spokesperson for Norfolk International Airport said while officials are awaiting state and federal determinations, the TSA is not enforcing a mask mandate. Masks are optional and are available near the information booth in the airport's departures lobby.

For Newport News-Williamsburg Airport, a spokesperson said officials aren't enforcing a mask mandate there either.

RELATED: TSA lifts mask mandate following federal ruling

Since the mandate was dropped, most of the airlines serving Hampton Roads updated their policies to make mask-wearing optional for passengers and employees:

Public transit

Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) said it will relax its mask mandate and allow customers the option of wearing a face mask while riding or walking through HRT facilities.

HRT operates bus services through Hampton Roads, the Tide light rail system in Norfolk, and passenger ferry services on the Elizabeth River between Norfolk and Portsmouth.

"While we recognize that COVID remains a concern to our communities, the rates of infection have declined sufficiently that we are comfortable with the TSA’s guidance giving our customers the option of not wearing a mask,” HRT President and CEO William Harrell said in a news release.

The Williamsburg Area Transit Authority said it is following TSA guidance by making masks optional on its bus services.

Rideshare services

Uber announced it would no longer require drivers and riders to wear a mask while using the service. The company still recommends following CDC guidelines to wear a mask if you have certain personal risk factors and/or high transmission levels in the area.

Lyft followed suit, saying that wearing a mask is now optional for everyone in the car.

RELATED: Lyft, Uber make big changes to COVID-19 mask policies

Trains

Amtrak confirmed that passengers and employees are no longer required to wear masks while on board trains or in stations. People are still encouraged to wear a mask as a preventive measure against COVID-19.

In Hampton Roads, there are Amtrak stations in Norfolk, Newport News, and Williamsburg. Norfolk is connected to the Northeast Regional route via Petersburg, while Newport News and Williamsburg are connected via Richmond.

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