NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Metro-North riders are no longer required to wear face masks on trains in Connecticut.
This comes after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday the end of the mask mandate on all forms of public transportation, including subways, buses, commuter railroad, paratransit services, and in stations.
While masks are still encouraged, they are now optional.
“Sometimes I forget a mask, but I’m very happy things are changing now for the better,” Bert Rodriguez of Bridgeport said.
In April, The Connecticut department of transportation announced an end to the mask mandate on CT transit, Hartford line, and shoreline east services, but people who take the New Haven line and other MTA branches still had to wear one because it was under New York’s jurisdiction.
Dr. Onyema Ogbuagu at Yale Medicine said a change in mask mandate was expected, but we’re not out of the woods yet. Cases are going down, but they aren’t low enough to suggest we are in an endemic.
“It yet remains to be seen what happens with the fall and winter season which we’re worried about,” Dr. Ogbuagu said. “That’s typically the season when respiratory viruses surge and so it’s a little unpredictable what will happen.”
Commuters said people were already riding the train mask-less before the updated policy was announced. For some people, this means things are going back to normal but for others, they’re still going to be cautious and wear their masks on the train.
Free masks will continue to be available at subway station booths upon request and on commuter railroad trains.
Federal officials approved booster shots last week that target the most prevalent strain of the COVID-19 omicron variant. The updated booster shots should be widely available in the coming days for everyone over the age of 12.