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Masks now optional on most public transit in Oregon

File photo of an LTD bus.

With this week’s ruling by a federal judge that tossed out the mask mandate on public transportation, most transit providers in Oregon say they won’t require riders or employees to wear face coverings anymore.

Masks have been required for the past two years on most forms of public transportation, including city bus routes. The mandate was put in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

While transit agencies have the option of continuing to require them even without a federal mandate, most say they’re dropping the requirement. But they also say riders can keep using them if they want to.

“We certainly want passengers to continue to feel healthy and safe on our buses,” said Pat Walsh, a spokesperson for Lane Transit District.

Public transit agencies in Albany, Corvallis, Lincoln County, Roseburg and Salem all said Tuesday that masks are now optional, as did Portland’s Tri-Met, the state’s largest public transportation provider.

The mask requirement was also dropped for the Linn Shuttle, which runs between Sweet Home and Albany, as well as in the Rogue Valley Transit District, which serves Medford.

Masks are now optional at the Eugene Airport as well as on Amtrak trains serving the state. Greyhound also announced that masking would be optional on its buses, except those that cross into Mexico or Canada.

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December, 2018 and became News Director in March, 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”
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