Masks are gone from most flights, but here's where you can't ditch your mask just yet

Nick Natario Image
Wednesday, April 20, 2022
Masks are gone from most flights, but don't ditch your mask just yet
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As we see more and more airlines and public transportation companies drop their mask mandates, here are some places you'll still need them.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Masks may be gone from planes, but don't ditch them just yet as there are still places that require them.

There may be times you'll have to wear a mask on a flight

On Monday, a federal judge struck down the public transportation mask mandate that applied to flights, buses, trains, and cruise terminals.

SEE ALSO: Justice Department to appeal mask ruling for public transportation only if mandate still needed

The Transportation Security Administration is no longer enforcing the mandate inside terminals, and the Houston Airport System said passengers at George Bush Intercontinental Airport and William P. Hobby Airport no longer require masks.

If you're taking a domestic flight, you probably won't need to wear a mask either. However, if you're taking an international flight, it depends on the country you're flying to.

METRO told ABC13 it's dropping its mask mandate on Tuesday. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this change also impacts transportation hubs, including cruise terminals. However, you may have to wear a mask on the cruise ship.

While the mandate is gone, some neighbors told us the rules can be confusing because some businesses require masks.

"A little bit if you're not doing your research before you go places," said Missouri City resident, Deshawne Estes. "I feel like you should still try and wear and mask if you're in a close space, or in stores, school. All of that stuff."

SEE ALSO: Which airlines, airports, transit agencies, ride shares dropped mask mandate after judge's ruling

"I think businesses, whether they're public or private, need to post what they want on the doors and you either go in and follow the rules, no matter what the rules are, or you find somewhere else to go," said Donna Bopp, a resident in The Woodlands.

Mask rules inside hospitals: Some are dropping them, others are unsure

Masks are also coming off inside hospitals. Houston Methodist announced in April, it's gone back to pre-pandemic policies, but on Monday, they made a change.

The hospital is no longer pre-screening visitors and patients, and masks are also optional in non-patient areas. However, masks must be worn in inpatient areas.

Memorial Hermann said it is monitoring Houston data, including wastewater COVID-19 reports, and CDC data to make future changes.

Texas Children's Hospital also still requires masks to be worn in inpatient areas. At Harris Health System, including Ben Taub, masks must be worn.

On April 1, UTMB in Galveston made masks optional at outpatient sites for both staff and patients. Masks must still be worn inside the hospital, in inpatient areas, and in areas with COVID patients, people dealing with cancer, or immunocompromised patients.

However, UTMB is monitoring internal, and county COVID data, and could go to pre-pandemic measures very soon.

"Perhaps a few days," UTMB infectious disease specialist, Dr. Janak Patel explained. "We have to make the proposal. It's an internal process. It should be, I would say, within a week or two perhaps."

Since UTMB made changes nearly three weeks ago, Patel said there hasn't been an increase in cases. Although it's moving in the right direction, he said its possible masks could return if the situation worsens.

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