click to enlarge DDOT and QLINE on Woodward in Detroit. - STEVE NEAVLING

Steve Neavling

DDOT and QLINE on Woodward in Detroit.

Local transit authorities across metro Detroit are no longer requiring face coverings after a federal judge struck down the mask mandate aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.

The QLINE, the Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT), and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transit (SMART) announced they won’t require masks, but are still encouraging passengers to wear them.

“QLINE strongly encourages riders to wear masks when abroad the streetcar,” the QLINE tweeted Tuesday. “Ambassadors will have masks available for anyone who wants one, but the system will not require masks. Transit Police will not ticket or remove people from streetcars who declined to wear a mask.”

In a separate statement, DDOT said it will continue “to recommend that transportation riders, operators, and employees wear masks, especially in areas that do not allow social distancing. However, masks are no longer required in any circumstance regarding public transportation. The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] continues to strongly recommend the use of face masks in indoor public transportation settings.”

In a tweet, SMART wrote, “The mask mandate is no longer in effect while riding SMART. Please be patient as we work to update the info on our buses and signs. Customers are encouraged to wear masks while waiting for and riding the bus if they choose to do so.”

The Wayne County Airport Authority, which operates Detroit Metro Airport and Willow Run Airport, also said masks won’t be required in its airport facilities.

The decisions come after Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, a Florida judge who was appointed by President Donald Trump, struck down the mask requirement on airplanes, trains, buses, and other public transportation on Monday.

Less than a week earlier, the CDC had extended the mandate through May 3.

The Biden administration is considering appealing the decision.

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