Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Tuesday announced he would end a mask mandate on public transit and at airports after a federal judge’s decision Monday that overturned the government’s plan to keep restrictions in place until May 3.
That means masks will be optional for Metra riders on their next commutes.
Pritzker said he would revise an executive order that kept the COVID-19 mitigations in place on Metra, the CTA and Pace and at O’Hare and Midway international airports.
“I’m proud of the work our state has done to fight COVID-19 and protect our most vulnerable,” Pritzker said in a statement. “I continue to urge Illinoisans to follow CDC guidelines and, most importantly, get vaccinated to protect yourself and others.”
Metra officials said that given the governor’s announcement, “starting immediately, masks will be welcome but not required while traveling on Metra trains. They remain an important preventive measure against COVID-19.
“We are asking everyone to please be courteous and kind toward your fellow riders and understanding of their needs and choices. This has been a difficult period for everyone — let’s all do what we can to help each other on the way back,” the agency said in a statement.
On Monday, the U.S. Transportation Security Administration said it would no longer enforce “mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs.”
That led Chicago’s hometown carrier, United Airlines, along with American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and Southwest Airlines to say that masks would be optional on flights.
The TSA and U.S. Centers for Disease Control last week extended the period for masks to be worn on transportation systems from Monday through May 3 because of increasing cases of the highly infectious BA.2 variant of COVID-19.
The decision by Florida U.S. District Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, said the mandate exceeded the CDC’s authority and the agency improperly failed to justify its decision and did not follow proper rule making.