Riders, drivers and infectious disease doctor react to easing of mask mandates

Posted at 6:55 PM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 18:59:22-04

(WXYZ) — Monday, a federal judge in Florida ruled a mask mandate for transportation is unlawful. As a result, the Transportation Security Administration and airlines are no longer enforcing it.

With ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft following suit and making masking optional, 7 Action News surveyed drivers on the updated policy.

Michael Mason, a driver who said he chose not to get the vaccine, explained, "I'll put (the mask) on if my passengers ask me to. But other than that, I won't put it on. I'm glad it's done with and I'm glad I can actually breathe now without having that mask on."

There are others who are vaccinated and boosted but also glad to head toward a new normal.

"If somebody wants to put it on, it's fine. If you want me to put it on, I'm fine with it," Sunday Omoyele, a commercial Uber driver said.

Still yet, some are comfortable with the status quo.

"I still wear my mask. I want all the riders to feel comfortable. But it's their choice if they wear theirs or not," driver Chris Weglarz said.

From private companies to public transportation, the Detroit Department of Transportation and the QLINE updated their masking polices Tuesday as well. Both announced it's still recommended but optional to mask up.

The update is so new that riders we spoke to had no clue.

DDOT rider Lamar Riley said, "I feel like the mandate being lifted is a good thing. But at the same time, I feel like people have to have integrity as far as getting they shots and knowing that everybody is vaccinated."

Dr. Payal Patel is an infectious disease specialist at the University of Michigan Hospital.

"I think the takeaway is that if I was traveling soon or if someone in my family traveling soon, if you're pretty worried or if you have immune compromise or if you have little kids, we still haven't had the vaccine out for kids under 5. Definitely still makes sense to mask up while we get through these next few weeks to try to understand what's happening in general with national trends," Patel said.