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Travelers at KCI react to federal judge's ruling on mask mandate on public transportation

KCI travel
Posted at 8:10 PM, Apr 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-18 23:25:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A federal judge's ruling, wiping out the federal requirement to wear masks on public transportation, now puts a key piece of COVID-19 protocol in the United States into question.

At the Kansas City International Airport on Easter Monday, travelers' reactions were mixed.

For some, they're ready for take off when it comes to masking in the air.

"You can enjoy your food, you don't have to worry about masking up," Bob Henn, a traveler at KCI said. "We've had flight attendants force us to put the mask up and down between every bite and drink we've taken."

For some, they're happy to stay grounded in current protocol.

Nicole Green, another traveler at KCI, said she would continue having her daughter wear a mask.

"She's only six and I don't like her taking it off at school," Green said. "Kids get sick easier and I feel like she still needs to wear it."

For other passengers, they don't mind either way.

"For me, it's just part of an article of clothing. Sometimes I'll wear it, sometimes I don't, depending on what's happening," Elizabeth Davis said. "It's not a big issue for me one way or the other."

The White House said Monday the TSA isn't enforcing the mask mandate at airports.

A spokesperson for KCI told KSHB 41 News that masks would now be optional at the airport, which is inline with the TSA.

Local medical leaders are skeptical about the timing of today's ruling.

"If the goal is to prevent transmission of the virus, then this is maybe a little premature," Dr. Ginny Boos, the director of Infection Prevention at Saint Luke’s said. "I'm not quite sure of all of the arguments that they applied."

With social distancing difficult in close travel quarters, doctors say it's still a risky proposition.

"We know the airlines, how they talk about how safe their airplanes are because of the airflow, you're still in a fairly small tube and fairly close to people, there is still risk there," Dr. Dana Hawkinson, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Kansas Health System said. "But even in the airports, we know that they may not necessarily have the air circulation that other places do."