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Conflicting mask rules, requirements surface, after decision by federal judge in Florida


Before a federal judge in Florida struck down the nation's mask mandate, passengers on public transportation heard a single message - masks on. Even with an appeal underway by the U.S. Department of Justice, riders have multiple decisions to make, depending where they are traveling.

In a small region of New England mask regulations on public transportation are strikingly different.

In western Massachusetts, masks are not required on buses run by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority. But masks are required for riders on Connecticut Transit buses.

Vicki Shotland from the Greater Hartford Transit District said in Hartford's Union Station, masks are encouraged but no longer mandated.

“I had to make that decision because you have a lot of people coming in from all over, you know, New York, Boston," Shotland said. "So we're going to be cautious with that, because we do not want our security unit to get into fights with passengers. “

Those are passengers who may be getting off Amtrak which right now is not requiring its riders wear masks.

But travel north to Springfield’s Union Station, which also serves Amtrak, and riders who are leaving the train are required to put on masks inside the station, at least for now, according to a station property manager.

Late Wednesday afternoon the U.S. Department of Justice said it would appeal a ruling by a federal judge in Florida that voided the mask mandate for public transportation.

Jill Kaufman has been a reporter and host at NEPM since 2005. Before that she spent 10 years at WBUR in Boston, producing "The Connection" with Christopher Lydon and on "Morning Edition" reporting and hosting. She's also hosted NHPR's daily talk show "The Exhange" and was an editor at PRX's "The World."
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