Local doctor shares tips as mask mandate lifted for air travel and transit

Posted at 6:52 AM, Apr 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-19 06:52:06-04

(WXYZ) — The TSA will no longer enforce the mask mandate on public transportation and public transportation hubs.

SMART Bus also says masks are no longer required on buses.

U.S. District Judge Kathryn Mizelle struck down the national mask mandate on public transportation in a court ruling on Monday declaring the mask mandate unlawful.

Dr. Molly O'Shea from Birmingham Pediatrics joined us this morning to talk more about the mandate and how people can handle it. Watch her interview above, and read her answers below. Answers have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: Is it too soon to lift the mask mandate on planes and transit?

The mask mandate was going to have to be lifted at some point and I think the exact timing is going to be imperfect to some, whenever it happens. I think this is a decent time to do it. Yes, omicron is still around and cases are still rising in certain areas, but this strain is milder, people have had the opportunity to get vaccinated, kids as young as 5 can get vaccinated, and people can still opt to wear masks.

Q: Are we turning a corner and entering a new normal or are there new concerns?

I think that people now have the opportunity to take more into their own hands. They can still wear masks and get vaccinated. This version of the coronavirus is milder so we're in a great place right now. As strains evolve and change, it doesn't mean that we won't need to take broader precautions and perhaps return to a time when global mask mandates return, but for right now, it's delightful to have an opportunity to be in a world where the world at large can make those decisions on an individual basis.

Q: What is your recommendation for people who are unsure of what to do?

I think if you have children, especially young children who can't get vaccinated or family members who have fragile health, wearing makes sense. Or, if you're nervous about getting the virus or if it would be inconvenient for you, wearing a mask is easy and makes sense. If it isn't easy for you or you just like the freedom of not wearing a mask, then I think it's fine to make that decision as well.